If the world is sane, then Jesus is mad as a hatter and the Last Supper is the Mad Tea Party. The world says, Mind your own business, and Jesus says, There is no such thing as your own business. The world says, Follow the wisest course and be a success, and Jesus says, Follow me and be crucified. The world says, Drive carefully – the life you save may be your own – and Jesus says, Whoever would save his life will lose it and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. The world says, Law and order, and Jesus says, Love. The world says, Get and Jesus says, Give.
In terms of the world’s sanity, Jesus is crazy as a coot, and anybody who thinks he can follow him without being a little crazy too is laboring less under a cross than under a delusion. ( Frederick Buechner )
During our set-up for the Association of Peninsula Churches Good Friday Service a lady rushed into where we were like a gust of wind and commented, " Lets not make this too gloomy, he has risen you know." Before I could respond the wind changed direction, and as quick as it came it was gone.
There was something about the comment that stuck with me for the rest of my Easter vigil. And reading Buechner's words this morning brought it to the surface. The " Cross " is a very uncomfortable place, the word comes " Christ has Risen " and our natural tendency is to get as far away from the cross as possible. The resurrection, the new day and the new creation...thats the good news.
But I'm reminded of Saul's experience on the road to Damascus. Now we're talking about a " new creation " transformation. Saul, religious pharisee, bounty hunter for the Law...burnt blind by Jesus, God's foolishness would become his wisdom and the long arm of the law would be Christ's embrace. And, if this wasn't enough...it would be complete with name change, " Paul."
You would think if we had this experience, we would try and cram it into every conversation we had. But as profound as Paul's resurrection experience was, he lived in the place of the cross.
17God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what he has done, collecting a following for him. And he didn't send me to do it with a lot of fancy rhetoric of my own, lest the powerful action at the center—Christ on the Cross—be trivialized into mere words. ( 1 Corinthians 1:17 )
5-8Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. ( Philippians 2:5-8 )
There is no doubt reading the Book of Acts, and Paul's letters to the early church that he lived a resurrected life, his journey was guided by the wind of God's Spirit...but more than that, he lived his life in the constant shadow of the cross.
As much as we as faith communities want to live resurrected lives, being an incarnational presence of Jesus to the world around us...there can be no resurrection and no new creation without the cross. We need to be moving by the Spirit of God, but we also must live in the shadow of the cross. It is there as communities we learn to die...that we may discover His life.