As Christians around the world enter Holy Week, I find myself considering the story of the crucifixion…again. (Keep in mind my background in Religious Studies makes this a natural thing for me.). This article makes some interesting points as it explores the common belief that Jesus died for all, to pay for our sins, so that we may be reconciled to God: http://www.uscatholic.org/church/2012/03/us-and-our-salvation I’ve always struggled with that formula myself, that kind of atonement theology. Instead, what resonates deeper with me, is the idea that in Jesus’ unwarranted and horrific death, we see what sin looks like, and just how very ugly and destructive it is — when we persecute, or assassinate, the innocent because their views differ from ours, or we don’t like their perspective on God, or we feel threatened by their transformative (albeit peaceful) influence. And for some of us, we are simply complicit in this kind of violence because we stand by and do nothing.
We can also see on the cross just how far Jesus’ love and integrity go — that he was willing to risk his own life for what he believed, for his teachings about peace, mercy, justice, and much more. What a challenge for any of his followers to consider — how far we would be willing to go to stand unwavering in our convictions.
And so my prayer as Holy Week begins is that I let the cross “wake me up” to both my transgressions and my beliefs, so that I may better contribute to peace and goodness in our world.