Easter 2018

25 March 2018

Jesus on the cross asks his Father to forgive us. Forgive what? Our inability, as humankind, to understand that the things we choose to do might hurt others. And hurt ourselves. Our inability to understand that, when others are hurt, we are damaged ourselves. Archbishop Desmond Tutu calls it Ubuntu. What diminishes you diminishes me. Humankind is unable to understand that to a greater or lesser extent... we are all victims. Victims of the world we inhabit; the society and communities and peer groups to which we belong.

Jesus on the cross tells us that we don’t know what we are doing. We can’t know. We are trapped in these finite human bodies with our wonderful, but ultimately limited, imaginations. By definition being human, means we are incapable of knowing what we are doing – at least, in the way that God knows. And it is because God knows and we don’t that he sent his Son. Certainly, we know better now. After two thousand years of working at it. Trying to listen to God. Trying to understand. Trying to relate to Jesus and his work - there, gasping for breath on the cross. Where we put him. But even those two thousand years hold some shameful – sometimes astonishingly shameful and cruel – events which strongly suggest we Christians, let alone non-Christians, often do not truly know what we are doing.

We will never really know the pain we have caused our parents, our friends, our loved-ones, our neighbours; the person in the shop we push in front of, the driver of the other car ‘in our way’, the person we ignore or disdain simply because they are different. But we do cause pain. It seems to be part of the human condition to cause - and be caused - pain. Because we don’t really know what we are doing. And yet... we are forgiven. Christ on the cross exposes us to a new understanding. An understanding that there is a different way we could be. A way into which the cross releases us.

It is the lack of humankind’s self-awareness that lifted Christ onto the cross. It was Christ’s submitting to our lifting him there, that leads to our greater self-understanding. Come and See. Watch and Understand. Look and Learn. This is the power of the cross. To teach. To lead. To change. Hearts. Minds. Humankind. The Way of the world. Christ asks our Father in heaven to forgive us because we lack knowledge. Not in spite of it. Not to spite us but to love us. And by loving us, to change us.

When we look into the face of Christ on the cross, we do not confront him, he confronts us… with a light that shows us this new way of Being into which we are released. Where violence and cruelty, selfishness and greed are overcome - by faith, by hope, and above all by love.

May God bless you this Easter and always.

Amen