Friday, April 06, 2012
“Why did Jesus die?” the child asked
“Why did Jesus die?” she whispered beside me. Three years old, pretty in pink, shoes not yet touching the floor, her mother gently sushed her. This, after all, was church. Where visitors want to be seen, not heard.
But it’s the question that needs answering each and every Easter.
“Could we think of the cross?” I thought. “It has a flat piece, a horizontal piece, that points to people. Jesus died because the people around him killed him. He said and did things they didn’t like. He said things about God they didn’t agree with. They couldn’t stop him, so they decided to kill him.
Jesus also died, not only because people did something. But also because some people did nothing. Stood silent. Kept their mouths shout.
But the people around Jesus, that is only one part of why Jesus died. The cross not only has a flat piece, a horizontal piece. It also has an up and down piece, a vertical piece. That points to God.
Jesus died as an expression of love, God’s love. There are many ways to respond to evil people and evil plans. We can fight them, run from them, avoid them.
Jesus took a different approach. He decided to love them. It was like he became a sponge that soaks up all the spilt milk.
In the up and down part of the cross, God sucking up all the evil and pain in the world. Think of all the bad things people have done. And not done.
Not just the people around Jesus. All people. Through history. Even you and I. So much of it.
No wonder he died, one person trying to love all the evil out of life. That’s why Jesus died.”