Pastor Nathan Rugh got it right on Good Friday at St. Augustine by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Santa Monica.
He boiled the message down to two things:
- God suffers with us (Through the incarnation, God entered the human experience--and in death by crucifixion, he endured the worst of human experience.)
- God says no to us when we inflict pain. God calls us to be bigger than that, forgives us, and even enables us to choose the good by staying close to our Maker.
It's that simple.
People who are suffering terminal illness or harmed by human cruelty get an answer when they ask, like Jesus on the cross, "Why have You abandoned me?"
The answer is, "I'm with you. I care deeply about your pain, and I suffer when you do. I entered the human condition."
People who torment and kill others, like Hitler, get an answer too. Judgement Day.
God is shouting NO NO NO at them, but they can't hear it. Or they ignore and defy it. In one way or another, at one time or another, we all close up our ears and hearts against God.
God is calling them (and us) to repentance and a trust in the Holy Presence that enables change.
Some hear and repent. Others don't. Others repent once or twice but not daily.
Thanks, Nate, for words that led me to reflect today.