A Way of Seeing
October 20, 2021
A central visual symbol in almost every Lutheran worship space is the cross. This cruel instrument of torture and death was reserved for rebellious slaves, violent criminals, and threatening criminal subversives.
We see the Cross as a central symbol because we confess; “it is here, on the cross, that God meets us.” It is on the Cross that God made himself present in our weakness, in our vulnerability and suffering, and our dying.
In the abyss of despair, in the deepest darkness, God comes. In the painful reality of our mortality, our ultimate loneliness, or weakness, God encounters us. As we view the cross, all our human attempts to find him are exposed as illusions. We do not find God in such things as earning divine rights through good works, saving ourselves through status and wealth, or in correct religious doctrine. No, we don’t find God because God finds us.
As God meets us where we are, the Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see.
The Cross is God’s embrace. God enters our darkness and embraces us with total and unconditional acceptance. Identifying completely with the pain and sorrow of our existence, God pursues us into a love relationship with himself.
The Cross is God’s victory. God enters our darkness and exposes and defeats the powers that reign in this world. By the death of Jesus, God liberates us from any person, thing, system, or “ism” which would enslave us by demanding absolute loyalty. We are free! Free to let God be God. Free to be human.
We see and we celebrate! The creator of the universe is a risking, prodigal, extravagant, passionate, merciful, mothering, fathering God who enfleshed himself in Jesus. The Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see and to understand the deepest mystery of our faith.
The Word became flesh and dwelled among us.
Pastor, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church