We live between the two Advents. The first Advent turns our eyes and hearts toward the mystery of God's presence among us. It turns us toward the valley, "the vale of tears where people dwell in joy and tears, in mildness and violence, in justice and injustice." The Second Advent commands us to turn our eyes and hearts toward the Word of God that reveals the mystery of God's plan for the world - "its freedom and liberation, its transformation, and its holiness, as it was meant to be in the beginning."
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The premise of the late Norman Vincent Peale tells us, God promises that there is nothing to fear in life or even death itself. So, what message does it bring to us humans knee-deep in messes of our own making? It means that we serve a risen Savior. The grave could not hold Christ; he defeated death. He paid the price for our sin with his own blood. And the consequences for us are huge. "For if, while we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!" (Romans 5:10). Because Christ lives, we will live, also -both in this life and in the life to come. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die" (John 11:25-26).
The First Word (Luke 23:33-34) “They do not know what they are doing.”
They do not know? They ...who killed Jesus? Who is “they”? It is so easy to name others - to blame others -
the Romans, the crowd, Pilate, Herod, Caiaphas - they all played their part and conspired against Jesus or simply followed orders to maintain the peace to keep Jesus’ kingdom from infringing on theirs.
And yet where are we when Jesus’ kingdom infringes on ours? on our peace and our order? on our prosperity and our security? Surely, he should have raged at the sinners who nailed him to the tree. Surely, he should have raged at us for the evil we do, the evil we do both knowing and unknowing, yet compassion is there in the first words that he utters. He intercedes for us before the Father.
We continue with our focus on the Protestant's way of the cross. The Stations of the Cross is a liturgical way to reenact that journey as a meditation of worship, an act of devotion to God. To think that the event of Jesus' journey to the Cross was a one time event in history is to misunderstand the role of remembering. For in remembering this event by walking the
Stations of the Cross we are not just reenacting a 2,000 year old event. We are making our own journey, and in the process confessing our own dependence upon God.