The Power of the Cross
- Friday, September 8, 2017
- By Father Robin Ruder-Celiz
So here is where I think the problem is. For us who profess the Christian Faith we see the cross as a symbol of grace and liberation. For us the cross represents freedom and knowledge that through the death and resurrection of Jesus, through the cross, we are already saved. So, on the one hand, Yay for us.
But the cross too is a stumbling block. The cross is a stumbling block not only for those of other religions and Faiths, but even for some of our own. How can we be saved when the person doing the saving dies? How are we free when clearly the One leading us to freedom dies? These and many other questions like these creates a disconnect between the sequence of events of that first Good Friday and what we would logically expect to see as a result with what we profess to be true, which is the opposite of our logical thinking. Logically, when the hero or leader dies, this is not necessarily a good thing. Chaos ensues as there is a shift in power and dynamics until a new leader emerges, or it is game over, the other side wins.
But for us Christians we say, “No, no, no, that’s not how it works. The leader died, yes. But this is good actually. Our leader remains our leader and better yet, we win, everyone wins, because the God of Love has assured us of our salvation.”
The cross is a stumbling block for sure. So how do we overcome this stumbling block? What is it about the cross that is so compelling and so life giving that people around the world are willing to risk their lives for the cross and all that this symbol means? We now enter the world of ambiguity where answers and life is a little less certain, but perhaps a bit more authentic. We know from our own life experiences that life is not at all certain. As we grow and mature we realize that life is less black and white than it is grey. This uncertainty, living in the grey of life can be unsettling and moves us out of our comfort zones. This is a good thing because it causes us to reflect and pay attention to where we are in life and examine what our hopes are for this fall, this year and beyond. What is it in our life that is holding us back and that we may need to let go of?
When we recognize what it is we need to let go of and indeed let those things go, we suddenly realize we are in a new day with new opportunities ahead. As the saying goes, “when one door closes, another opens.” From our own experiences we suddenly realize that so often the “new” in our life offers a much broader freedom than the trappings that keep holding us back.
For me, this provides one of the best examples of the freedom that the Cross brings. When we recognize and let go, allow to die, those elements in our life that hold us back from being more full alive. When we let them go and embrace fully a future, that may be grey, but holds a promise of a new life and new freedom we begin to experience and know the power of the cross and the death and resurrection of Jesus in our lives. The wonderful truth that we embrace as a Christian people is that there cannot be a death of any sort without a resurrection. The Cross teaches us that Resurrection; the Resurrection that Christ demonstrated and that comes from God is not a onetime event, all those years ago, but manifestation that happens every day in our everyday lives.
So, “How can we be saved when the person doing the saving dies? How are we free when clearly the One leading us to freedom dies?” Take a look around and begin to see the resurrection in your life. It is here and it is happening and this is how we know we are already saved, we are already free.