formation friday: the cross

kathyescobar advent & lent, formation friday, spiritual formation 14 Comments

cross collage

“it is finished” – john 19:30

it’s good friday (well, it was, but since i’m just now posting this it’s holy saturday). and because it’s so important to not be too serious all the time, i really love david hayward’s cartoon.

each year, the cross has had different meanings to me. i’ve rewritten the same post different times here & here and every year it always shifts a little or certain things mean more than others.

when i was in israel & palestine in january, i had a whole new perspective on the cross and its realities (written by our group leader). one of the most significant pieces for me was the reality that the cross was more than likely eye level, on the road, right in front of everyone, not up on a hill like so much of our imagery suggested. the raw and intimate brutality of it all is so gory. the king, who came in to the roar of hosannas & anticipation, now hanging like the worst of criminals. beaten, scorned, mocked, abandoned–looking his mother in the eyes.

i like to honor good friday by remembering the story. the humility of Jesus. the ways we are always drawn toward success & power. the crazy way of the cross.

today for formation friday (aka formation saturday), i thought i’d just ask one question to ponder and reflect:

  • what does the cross mean to you this year?

there are no right or wrong answers, no spiritually mature ones or spiritually void ones. it’s just whatever is stirred up in your heart this year. for some, saying it out loud helps distill it. for others, just pondering it in our heart is all we need. but I do think it’s a good formation question to consider as we keep growing and transforming in our faith.

for me, as i was walking this week reflecting on the cross, i had two different word combos come to mind: brutal & beautiful and vicious & tender.

that’s how life is. that’s how Jesus on the cross is.

this year that’s what the cross means to me–another powerful and important reminder of God’s paradoxical ways. and how hard that is for me to live in as a human being hoping for a cleaner, easier path this side of heaven. i am constantly reminded how freaking hard & beautiful life is, how desperate i feel for my friends to catch a break, how broken our systems are, how often power & violence seems to win.

and then i remember the cross. it didn’t win.

love does.

but winning sure does look different than i ever expected.

peace and hope to you this easter weekend, kathy

ps: the image above is a little art piece i created this week just for fun. i tore up a bible (it was a teen girls promise bible that somehow ended up at my house and lightning did not strike), using a mix of scriptures i thought of this week. art is always healing.