I wrote this reflection a few Good Fridays ago after a service at my home church. At our service, we had the opportunity to venerate the cross. This practice is ancient and can certainly cause some discomfort–it was also powerful and moving.
The cross—the veneration of the cross of Christ.
I walk up to feel our church cross.
The room is dark, illuminated by candles.
The light is a small comfort on this dark day.
Stay with me. Remain here with me. Stay with me. Remain here with me.
Watch and pray. Watch and pray.
I wonder what hurt more—the physical barbarism of his crucifixion?
Or his friends leaving him to his fate?
Or thinking that he failed in his life’s work?
Or feeling forsaken by his Father?
We’ve tried to clean up this crucifixion event, make it less harsh.
He knew what he was doing, he was completely self-aware.
No real despair here, he quoted Psalm 22 to make a point, that’s all.
But maybe he did despair, feel abandoned, genuinely ask why he was forsaken.
What if he had no idea this his message, his teachings, his life changed the entire world?
What if he died feeling deep and profound physical and emotional pain?
I can’t help but venerate this cross, His cross.
Without His cross, there can be no Easter.
I don’t want to glorify in His bloody, horrific death.
I don’t want to cause his death to overshadow his life and his teachings.
But I also refuse to gloss over His pain.
I refuse to spiritualize his death and the way he died so that I feel more comfortable.
I refuse to pretend that it didn’t really hurt.
I refuse to downplay his suffering, how He suffered.
So I venerate His cross.
I touch this rough wood.
I cry when I consider his pain.
And I wait, with hope–
-Rev. Lauren Lorincz