Thoughts for Good Friday II

Mary C. Boys, Professor of Practical Theology at Union Theological Seminary, wrote, “Like all symbols, the cross evokes more than one can explain. It condenses life and death into one symbol. It enfolds some of the deepest fears of humanity—vulnerability, betrayal, pain, forsakenness—and transfigures them into expressions of hope. When Christians proclaim the power of the cross, they are voicing their confidence that death is not the end, that the grip of evil has been broken, and that the powers and principalities who seem to control this world have been banished. When Christians proclaim the power of the cross, they are declaring, albeit often with tremulous voice, that at times one must simply endure suffering, that certain things in life must be borne. And they are declaring that in the passion of Jesus we find a model for our fidelity.The cross is a symbol Christians have been given to image their hope that God is with them even in pain and tragedy and ambiguity. It is a symbol of the longing to give themselves over to a project larger than their own self-interest, and of the faith that pouring out one’s life for the sake of another brings new life. It is a symbol that enables Christians to name the hard things of their lives, to express anguish rather than to repress it. . . .”With the very ambiguous history of the interpretation of the cross in mind Boys concludes, “Just as a church building that has been profaned by a violent or blasphemous deed needs rededication, so too, the symbol the church carries must be purified by its people’s repentance. Only then can the cross embody the power of reconciliation for which Jesus lived and died.” (Cross Currents, Spring 1994. . p 22-23)

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