Reflections on the Gospels from a Justice Perspective written for St. Andrew's Episcopal Church by members of the congregation

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Love of the Cross

Justice Reflection 24 April 2016  John 13:31-35

Easter is the season when we celebrate the greatest of all happy endings, and the hardest possible beginning.  The good news:  Each of us is another resurrection of Christ!  The hard part:  There is no resurrection without the Cross:  When Jesus tells us to love one another, he means we must carry one another's crosses.  The love of the the Cross is not the good-feeling-we-get-when-we-do-a-good-deed kind of love, it's the roll-up-our-sleeves-and-get-dirty kind of love.  It's rubbing elbows with those who are disenfranchised and hopeless, angry and hostile, desperately sick, wretchedly poor.  It's serving the homeless man who stinks, the babbling mentally ill woman with the grocery cart full of junk, the little kid with lice, the angry young man who scares you.  The Indian mystic Ramana Maharshi was asked "How should we serve others?"  His reply: "There are no others."  It's that kind of love.  We can't do it alone, the crosses are too heavy.  We have to do it together.

The Old Testament prophets rarely criticized an individual; rather, speaking in God's name, they criticized the nation itself for not taking care of the poor, the sick, the homeless, the hungry, the naked.  (A good example is Isaiah 58:1-12)   Those prophets, whom Jesus quoted so often, knew that it's too much, it takes the entire nation to do it.  As Christians, we must let our faith form our politics, supporting with our taxes the programs which take care of those in any kind of need.  We must love one another if we hope to be resurrected people.