Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Experience of Jesus Upon the Cross

"The cross is a symbol of the fact that order has no easy victory in the world over chaos, that love has no easy triumph over force. Christ is always assuring one half of the world that the victory of the spirit over the confusion of the world is not impossible, and the other half that victory is not easy. He himself touched areas of life from which God seemed absent and had experiences in which for a moment the love of God appeared to be an illusion. The cry 'My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?' came out of a tortured soul - tortured not so much by physical pain as by the terrible reality of a life mission in apparent ruins. Yet a moment afterward came the cry of victory, 'My God, into thy hands I commend my spirit!'

"The experience of Jesus upon the cross is not one of a dreamy pantheist who imagines God in easy and magical control of every process in the universe. It was the experience of a spiritual adventurer who saw life as a struggle between love and chaos but who also discovered the love at the center of things which guarantees the victory in every apparent defeat."

Reinhold Niebuhr, "To Whom Shall We Go?"
The Christian Century
(March 10, 1927)

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