cross: to start one place and get to the other side
When I was young, I saw time and again a drawing of the cross used as a bridge.
We are on one side, completely disconnected from God, while holiness is across the large abyss that is life and sin.
Then, Jesus comes along, and suddenly we know God. He comes along and bridges the gap with the power of the cross.
Every time I saw that diagram I felt a need to be saved again, to re-commit, to gather up all my ugliness and lay it at the foot of the cross, where Jesus would throw it as far as the east is from the west.
But here’s the problem: I wasn’t all ugliness.
I was already loved by God.
The miracle that happened on the cross and later at the tomb already held me steady.
I heard recently that “Jesus was never Plan B.”
Jesus was never the lightbulb that went off above God’s head, a sudden realization that maybe this wretched universe could be saved, after all.
Maybe Jesus was just the face- the body, the sweat, the blood- of God.
And maybe there is no large abyss between us and God, or maybe the abyss isn’t as large as we draw it out to be. Maybe we can still see God in our everyday experiences.
Maybe our life is holy just because it is.
What if God is over there, we are here, and Jesus is everywhere in between?
Or what if God is everywhere in between, we are over here, and Jesus is everywhere, too, always with us?
Jesus is like us, but he is like God.
With us, but with God.
To cross something is to journey.
They crossed the Jordan.
They crossed the bridge at Selma.
They crossed the Trail of Tears.
They crossed the immigrant-bearing ocean.
What if the cross is the journey, after all?
And what if we are crossing from Jesus to Jesus, from God to Jesus, from God to God,
from here to there,
from person to person?
What if the cross of Jesus’ death is a forever symbol, and indeed, we are forgiven?
There could very well be an abyss. The stains of sin could very well still stain us.
But I’m more concerned with the act of crossing right now—
the way I cross over from here to there,
from me to you,
from the way I say that I love to the people I actually show my love to.
I believe Jesus was and is a journeyer, and so he is concerned with the crossing, too.
He’s concerned with what I see when I look from where I stand over to where you stand, and how you look at me from your life angle.
He’s concerned with the way I see God, not as a far off judge, but as a close listener, an active force that steadies us and teaches us, always, that there is a better and kinder way.
So Easter? Lent? The season of the Messiah who died and rose again?
Maybe it’s teaching us in this political, social, economic, religious, and racial climate to be people who are not afraid to cross over, who are not afraid to see Jesus in the journey, who are not afraid to stand up when too many people care too much about that abyss that threatens below.
Love can overcome that.
Crossing can overcome that.
Jesus overcame that.
Hallelujah, for the gift to cross.