I've been rereading the crucifixion narratives as part of my small group that is going through the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. Well, I've actually been avoiding reading them for some reason. It's strange, I really enjoyed reconnecting with the Birth Narratives even though I practically had them memorized. There was something about revisiting them with 'Contemplative Eyes' that helped me see them in a new light.
Not so the Crucifixion.
I've been studiously avoiding them :(
Today in group I wrote down some garbled sentences that have me thinking.
First I wrote "The Impotence of God. The embarrassment of a weak God". When I read the Passion accounts in the Gospels it strikes me how silent God is through all of this. At the time of Jesus' deepest need for God, he experiences deepest separation from God.
"Eloi! Eloi! Lama Sabachthani"
The cry of 'My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me!' has caused much study and debate over the years. Is Jesus just quoting the psalms, or is his statement an indication of some rift in the Godhead?
The statement creates some tension for me. Jesus seems at his most human at this point - he's not working miracles or sharing incredible teaching. He's feeling weak and abandoned. A well meaning friend quoting a bible verse at him or reading 'Footprints' to him is not going to touch his profound loneliness and help him cheer up.
This is a Jesus I can relate too......and this is a God I don't like. If God the Father would do this to His Son, why would I want Him as my Father? I want a God who is powerful. Mighty and Strong. A God who kicks butt, not a God who abandons his children.
I know the theological answers to my questions - I've spouted them to others when they've expressed similar questions to me. I don't need an answer. I don't really think their is an answer. I just needed a place to give concrete shape to the thoughts in my head.
Later on down the page I wrote "We make the Cross a statement of God's strength displayed in restraint rather than a statement of God's weakness... we focus on God's restraint rather than our own weakness and cruelty."
The Cross as a sign of Strength or Weakness. Restraint or Impotence.
My Inner Evangelical is screaming heresy right now, and my Inner Contemplative is seeing my own Strength, Weakness, Restraint and Impotence all reflected on a simple wooden structure erected on a trash heap outside of Jerusalem.