I have walked the path to the cross more times than I haven’t.
As a young chap I accepted that my Christian home was based on fact not fiction. As a young man I had no reason to change my mind. As a young adult I had no reason to amend my views (nor any reason to pay heed to them).
Apathy of accepted belief was the way. Easter eggs and a long weekend away from work was the reward of the “the cross”.
And then as a reborn young man (much later in life) the cross was another element that invited pushing boundaries – pushing beliefs in a journey of love.
And now I wonder why believers (of the bible) can look at the Garden and see imagery, yet see only fact in the cross. I wonder why believers can see Garden-imagery yet defend “original sin” (in its many re-birthed forms). Defend and live by the “fact” that we are all sinners saved by grace freely given (even when rejecting the “seven days of creation” as “fact”).
I also wonder why the cross is never taught as pure imagery.
Why the road to the cross is a real factual pilgrimage even today. Why good people spend good money to walk that road – tell of how it is physically exerting even today – even without the cross on your back – even with a good night’s rest and a hearty breakfast inside you! The surprised “fact” being that Jesus was made of strong stuff – much more than today’s pilgrims and the luxuries they enjoy. Fact.
The Jesus I read of had a problem with beliefs being “facts”. The Jesus I read of had a problem with “facts-that-are-beliefs” used to validate all the crap (we still have today).
So I wonder whether the Jesus I read of would have a problem with me now seeing the cross-death-resurrection as just imagery not fact. Would have a problem that I am now freed of any obligation to believe and behave as I was taught by “static” religion and “fought-over” faith-beliefs.
The static faith-belief of a sinner saved by grace freely given. The static fought-over beliefs whose consequence is real people abusing and (really) killing each other in the name of these static fought-over faith-beliefs. Killing sanctioned by earthbound politicians AND earthbound clerics AND earthbound business leaders (and heaven-bound believers).
ALL of who have a real fact-earthbound-belief that there is no immediate physical resurrection (even after three days).
Or else all this killing would be a complete waste of time.
Perhaps – if we remain with imagery – the lessons to be drawn from the cross are both global AND far closer to home.
Perhaps the cross challenges our taught indulgence. Our desire to live forever. Our need to be “right”. And with it all the “static” and “fought-over” stuff we have created to validate that.
I have no wish to live forever.
But I believe my memory will live on in others after I don’t. I believe that my love will still reach from beyond the grave and touch others. Love that is as real then as it is now. Love that has never had any conditions … has never been static … and has no reason to kill anyone …
Perhaps because Love ISN’T about being “chosen” or “saved” … or defending my god(s) from your god(s) … or all this inhumanity of one to another in the name of our different god(s) … this grotesque (and repeated) news-headline “stuff” of a few days (or weeks at best) …
Love is NONE of that. Love is ALWAYS freeing AND empowering.
And THAT is the imagery I now see in the cross.