At the center of Christianity sits the cross of Christ. From the beginning, Jesus' followers have celebrated the cross as a symbol of our faith. It holds an honored place in our worship spaces; it is carved into rough tombstones. We wear it around our necks and set it out as a sign of sanctuary. The cross represents what Christians believe, who we hope for, and how we approach life.
But if Christ crucified is the heart of the gospel, what does it mean? What does it mean that we are saved by what Jesus does on the cross? Christians have always believed that something significant and saving was accomplished on the cross, but the ancient creeds do not ever attempt to say exactly what happens on the cross, what transpires between Jesus and His Father, or between God and us. The creeds do not supply or single out a "why" to the Cross.
Much like the New Testament itself, the Church has spoken of the atonement (how Christ makes us "at-one" with God) using a variety of metaphors. Today, however, contemporary Western Christianity has tended to privilege one understanding of the atonement to the exclusion of all others—the understanding that Jesus suffered the wrath of God meant for us.
In this series of Lenten messages, we will unpack the various ways the Church has understand the work of Christ on the cross to gain a more holistic understanding of the Cross and regain a sense of the the sacred mystery of the Crucifixion.
We begin this series on the first Sunday of Lent, this Sunday, March 10! Please join us!