Protestant churches display the Cross. Unlike the Crucifix, Jesus is not on the cross, because he was removed, buried and risen. It is an image of our hope and our forgiveness.
But I wish we could spend more time pondering the Crucifix. The gospel is good news, but it is also dark and horrifying. It is gruesome. Like much of life.
When we mourn, often we are encouraged that there is some greater good to the event that caused our mourning. God has a purpose. A good purpose. Like the resurrection made Christ’s death good.
But to those who are mourning, and to the memory of Christ’s sacrifice, this seems a flimsy attempt to diminish the pain. We should not forget to mourn when we view the cross. When we think of Christ’s death. When we take communion. These things are dark.
Jesus on the cross yelling “My God, why have you forsaken me?” is not at all softened by his resurrection.
The gospel does not simply offer good news. It offers it after despair.
And like Christ’s resurrection to life from death, hope can arise from despair. It come like light from darkness and void, like God creating the world ex nihilo.
Let there be light.
Let there be life.
Let there be hope.
Not because it was there in darkness, death or despair all along, but because this is how God creates. Out of nothing.
But sometimes, too, let there be nothing.