for the Exaltation
of the Holy Cross Sunday
from John 3:13-17.
(I am following N.T.Wright's teaching for this homily)
As many of you know, we have been working through the writings of the Hebrew Prophet Isaiah on Wednesday evenings. Rarely have I been so challenged by a text of scripture. If you have never read Isaiah, or if it has been some time since a sojourn there, I would remind you that, at least for the first thirty-nine chapters, it is all blood and guts, judgement and apocalypse, the end of the nations and eventually the end of the world writ large.
15 ‘I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, “I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.” You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. (Revelation 3:15-17)
- Christ fulfills the promise of God to Abraham -- all nations will be blessed through you.
- And, Christ’s actions in his ministry, on the cross, in the resurrection and especially through ascension culminate the long, long story of God and his people, as Jesus offers the new-life-and-the-new-way-to-live Kingdom which is present and living only though him.
“…the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” (?)To answer this question we say that Christ on the cross is a living and breathing reality of God’s love through loving action toward his fallen world. Or, to answer this question we could think of the mystery-of faith-formula we express each week --
Christ has died,
Christ has risen,
Christ will come again.
“Are you able to drink this cup that I am about to drink?” (Mt.20:22)Not only this, but the cross shows us a King who personifies the power of what it truly means to be a human being. You see, God’s conception for humans was far different from what our choices have led us to become, and from the cross we see this difference in technicolor. From the cross we see in this King a response to the selfishness and the violence that displays the ever-present autonomy of the self. From the cross we are exposed to this sacrificial love and this reconciling forgiveness — what we call around here the JesusWay — that opens to us the depth of God’s ultimate design for a true humanness.