A single word shapes Good Friday; a single word describes the Cross of Christ.
There’s no getting around the fact that the Cross of Christ is about sacrifice. But it’s not about appeasing an angry deity. When the Cross of Christ is turned into that, it’s a deformity, a travesty, and is terribly misleading. No, the Cross of Christ is not about appeasing; it’s about revealing . . . revealing something we all know. We all know that love is free, but it’s never cheap. Love always costs something; love might cost us everything. To participate in the healing of the planet, to live in relationships that are honest and that help us grow into wholeness, to work alongside others for justice and transformation, we have to make sacrifices. Love costs us. Rumi once said, “Gamble everything for love”; it’s always worth it.
As part of my Good Friday meditations, I was thinking about the Cross of Christ this afternoon. I noticed the Ethiopian cross in my office. As I looked at it, I noticed it looked more like a key than a cross.
Then I realized that the Cross of Christ is just that—a key. It’s the key to living well, loving without reserve, thriving because we dare to love in the face of hatred; love in the midst of suffering; love when others give up; love when people build walls; love, even when our love is refused or ridiculed or trampled on; love, even when it seems foolish.
The Cross of Christ is the key to life because it points to love, and the sacrifices love requires to open the doors of our hearts.
The Cross of Christ is the key to the wholeness, the unity, the wellbeing which is what God is up to in Christ. The Cross connects what we separate at our peril, the opposites that foster division, brokenness, alienation, and injury. The Cross, as a symbol, joins heaven and earth, divinity and humanity, spirit and matter, North and South, East and West, top and bottom, right and left.
The Cross of Christ shows us the key to wholeness, harmony, wellbeing.
That key is love.
And love, though free, is never cheap.