Tuesday, April 19, 2011

One in Life, One in Death

Good Friday, April 22, 2011, St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, Rev. Paul Moore

Earthquake and darkness, the very cosmos looks on as its Creator is murdered by His creation. It is the world's most cataclysmic self-contradiction, and creation itself cannot but shudder. Whatever got into God that He might allow such a thing? What great divine hick-up allowed such freedom to humanity, such audacity, such moral expanse, to be able to spit in the face of the fountain of one's being? How can it be that the creature could threaten his own livelihood thus? And yet, somehow, our faith bids us call this Friday "good." Was it good that we nailed the King of Righteousness to the Cross? Absolutely not! It was humanity's greatest evil, our deepest depths of depravity. Was it good that we stood there and taunted our salvation even as he died? Absolutely not! So few, so few had even an inkling of what was going on and beat their breasts in holy fear.

We call this day "good" because ultimately the joke is on us, not God. Our greatest efforts to hold God at bay only resulted in Him being closer than ever. Such is the great surprise of sin.

This day is good because in this moment God cannot be closer. It was humanity that killed the Christ, we imagine that we can take control over our Creator, the ultimate treason, the final betrayal. As if pitting petty god against petty god, we imagine we fought him and won the day, and all the while we wonder at how he does not return our hostility, proving thereby, that He is not over against, but one with our spirits.

It was humanity that killed the Christ. We, today's humanity, continue to kill the Christ in every act of rebellion against Him, in every act of hatred toward His creatures, no matter who or what they are, in every act of selfishness or thoughtlessness, we return to nail Him there. We nail Him down where he can't get away, right in the midst of our immorality. We prove Him to be one with our souls.

It was humanity that killed the Christ. We submit the immortal to mortality. After all, as mortals we could only perpetrate on Him what we had to give. He willingly joins us in our dying. We prove Him to be one with our created bodies. What a serendipity that today is also Earth Day. The earth that was entrusted to humanity as stewards, testifies to the job we've done by its response on that first dark Friday, and reminding us that the way we treat our God is reflected in how we treat His creation. The two are intertwined and cannot be separated.

On this day Jesus died for our sins, and for the broken creation itself, that as Paul says in Romans 8, it might with us taste of resurrection. On this Day, behind and beyond and through our evil deeds, God has acted. As God joined us in our depths, so and only so can He take us to the heights, and therefore we call this Friday good.

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