Now in the days following the watershed event of Easter, we are given time to absorb the impact of and wonder about the possible meanings of Jesus’ Cross and Resurrection for the world today. One such attempt is a sermon by Fred Craddock, a renowned Methodist preacher.
In his “Why the Cross?”, Craddock considers but finally rejects the notion of following the teachings and example of Jesus up to but not including his Passion (what Craddock calls “the beautiful Jesus”). The teaching, feeding, forgiving, healing Jesus is so attractive!
But without the Cross, without the experience of suffering, there can be no Resurrection. The Apostle Paul said, “I must preach the Cross of foolishness and scandal.” A Christian faith without the Cross is not Good News, cannot bring hope, does not even need Easter.
But we do need Easter, especially now. Not merely a rescue from our problems, but a doorway to New Life. The Cross tells us about God who, it turns out, identifies with our suffering and stays with us in love to the end. And then? Then it is not the end!
Our disappointments and losses are not the end, nor should they be the center. They are the prelude to Resurrection, the seeds of sacrificial love for one another.