The cross makes me uneasy. Good Friday, it’s an important and special day for me as a Christian. We know why, it’s important because it’s a day were we stop and think about Jesus on the cross. This prophet who was crucified. This prophet that we can see in historical papers, who was a reality. This man who walked to the cross because of his beliefs. Those beliefs that humans had taken a wrong turn, this wrong turn lead to multiple bad choices, that we are now a slave too. We call it sin, this circle of bad, damaging choices and thoughts we live with and repeat.
In the past people had brought offerings/sacrifices to God to be forgiven and wiped free of the bad they had done. Then with Jesus going to the cross we were given a break. We were told that Jesus went to the cross and took with him all humankind s past and future sin. That he was the offering/sacrifice to beat all sacrifices. We are told in the Bible that because of this act Jesus wiped away our wrong and opened a direct path to God. Sounds pretty major, right? But then we see that Jesus as predicted in the Bible comes back to life. This is why Christians believe Jesus’ teaching about being God. And I believe this, I believe that Jesus is not only a man, and a prophet, but also God… so it follows, that I believe if I ask God to forgive me and wipe away the limescale that is sin, He will.
So why does the cross make me uneasy. I think it’s because it represents freedom and I wonder if my problem is the idea that I am already free. Now I have been a Christian a long time, so you could see that for me, I may have got used to/become complacent with the freedom God has given me. But I think it’s deeper than that. I can address my complacency, but I look at my friends who have chosen not to believe in God and they also seem free.
So if they are feeling free why would the cross mean anything to them? Why would sharing my beliefs with my friends be of any value? Of any true value to me? I think that some answers to this lie in our idea of what freedom is. If we in western society are meant to be free then there are some things to consider.
Why do I feel that I need to justify my existence? I am not a slave am I? I don’t have to do anything, I have choice… something not available to others. So if I have choice and freedom why do I need to justify who I am?
I justify my looks with make up
I justify my body by wearing different clothes
I justify my place in the world by earning money and working
I justify my future by trying to raise my children in a certain way.
To be honest, each choice I make is heavily influenced by other things, what is appropriate, what demonstrates to others that I am just like them … that I fit in. Why do I want to ‘fit in’ and what do I want to fit into? It makes me think of those triangle segments in trivial pursuit and how they are many different colours but they all fit into the circle in a uniform way. I think in our society we are under the impression that we have choice, yet in reality we limit our actual choosing and end up like a segment fitting in.
If that’s not true think about people that you know ‘that don’t fit in’ – what’s that all about? Why is Brighton an attractive area to live in if you are pro individual choice and being unique? Surely if it is easy to be unique we could ‘be’ anywhere? Why move to live near others that share your opinions? Is it safety or the security of others, does it help justify your opinions when others have the same ideas?
If we are truly free then why do we need to justify ourselves?
As a Christian I am taught that I am justified by God. God promises to wipe my away the wrong that I do. To completely forgive me. If I am justified by God then who do I need to prove myself to? Well to God? But, I am told I am forgiven… that God is a God of Grace not disgrace. If I cannot disgrace myself with God and am justified by him, then, I am o.k to be me. I am told that I make mistakes, I know that I do, but I am told that when Jesus took all our wrong to the cross this act made a way for our forgiveness and promised our freedom.
And maybe if we explore what we think is freedom in our society, we will know what the cross is for.
So today, I am thinking about the invisible walls in our society. About how I allow myself to be defined by the culture that surrounds me and how so many years ago a man gave up something so that I could taste real freedom. Freedom from being judged by or a slave to any culture. I believe I am justified by God. I believe that Jesus was his son. If i live honestly, aware that I do wrong. but remember that I am promised complete forgiveness then This is freedom.