Death on a Friday Afternoon

This is a theological meditation that years ago confirmed what I had already had to live out and wrote about earlier today.  It says it so well… because this is my blog, I am writing it out too 🙂

From Richard John Neuhaus’ Death on a Friday Afternoon,

I have said we should not rush to Easter, yet Easter is the necessary presupposition of our contemplating the derelict on the cross.  Apart from Easter, such contemplation would reflect nothing but a morbid, macabre fascination with suffering and death–however “noble” his sacrifice.  Because of Easter, the words of the cross are words of life.  The cross is not merely the bad news before the good news of the resurrection.  Come Easter Sunday, we do not put the suffering and death behind us as though it were no more than the nightmarish prelude to the joy of victory.  No, the cross remains the path of discipleship for those who follow the risen Lord.  It is not as though there are two paths, one the way of the cross and the other the way of resurrection victory.  Rather, the resurrection means that the way of the cross is the way of victory.

“Come, follow me,” says Jesus.  “Take up your cross and follow me.  In the world you will have trouble, but fear not, I have overcome the world.”  In the book of Revelation, the white-robed saints around the throne of the Lamb are those who have come out of the great tribulation.  “I thirst,” said Jesus, and so also those who follow him thirst to drink of the chalice of which he drank.  The way of the Christian life is cruciform.  Jesus did not suffer and die in order that we need not suffer and die, but in order that our suffering and death might be joined to his in redemptive victory.  As Moses dipped the hyssop in blood and sprinkled the people of the first covenant, so those who have tasted of the wine that is now become blood are bound in covenantal solidarity with the One who is risen never to die again.

The Christian way is not one of avoidance but of participation in the suffering of Christ, which encompasses not only our own suffering but the suffering of the whole world.”

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