A Reader’s Request

In yesterday’s post, Looking for God: A Lenten Meditation on Suffering, I closed with these words: “…God, in Jesus’ cross bearing procession to a Calvary hill of crucifixion and death…is the only God, in this world of worry and woe, worthy of trust.”

A reader, in response, wrote: “I am not a Christian. Yet your idea of trusting a God who suffers intrigues me. Tell me, please, more of what you mean.”

I replied: “The death of Jesus, for me, reflects life as it is. And, yes, I am a Christian. Yet whether I believe in God or Jesus, whether God exists or Jesus ever existed, I believe that the Jesus-story exists. The Bible exists, which I can read, even if I do not accept it as a sacred text, as ancient, noble literature. And, according to the Bible’s Jesus-story, he was the incarnation, the earthly embodiment of God’s unconditional love. Jesus, love in flesh, was murdered at the hands of human hubris. This, I believe, as repeatedly demonstrable throughout human history unto this day, is the way the world is. This correspondence between Jesus’ death and life in this world means, for me, that God identifies with us. Therefore, God is one with whom we can identify and, thus, trust.”

Later, she wrote: “Thank you. I will think more about this.”

I answered: You are welcome.” And, always with a second thought, I added: “For me, on most days, when I protest, silently or aloud, against the disharmony in the world and in my life – between whatever is virtuous and the way things are, the way I am – knowing that God knows the trouble we’ve seen, the trouble we are is enough.”

© 2023 PRA

Illustration: Crucifixion (detail), Nikolai Nikolaevich Ge (1831-1894)

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