Cross of Peace
When we look at the whole arc of God’s Story we see that at the very beginning and at the very end there is a picture of life as it should be – people joyfully experiencing the presence of God and the fullness of life in right relationship with everyone and everything. This is Shalom. Yet in between those windows to eternity, we live in a broken world facing the full range of consequences of sin including death. Yet, right there in the middle of the story is the cross of Christ. It is filled with irony and paradox. How can a violent death bring peace? How is it just that a Just person can suffer an unjust death for the cause of justice? How can the author and source of life be put to death by those he created? If Jesus were but a common man, it would be a minor forgotten incident of ancient history, but instead gives hope and meaning to people around the world today.
During this period leading up to Easter, we are reflecting again on the meaning of the cross. It is central to how I personally can find peace with God. Beyond that we also want to consider how Christ’s work on the cross also relates to the bigger story of redeeming and restoring peace – shalom. Ephesians 2 speaks in terms of the cross serving not only to redeem individuals, but of reconciling groups of people together in Christ. The power of the cross also is how we can find peace with God, reconcile relationships and bring the nations together in right and just relationships when we meet each other at the cross! This is why at Bethany our vision statement begins “We will demonstrate the reconciling work of God by continuing to become a multi-ethnic intercultural community of believers…” When we see division, injustice, and brokenness all around us, it is all the more why we take joy in proclaimiing the good news and power of the cross. It is the gateway to God’s ultimate restoration of shalom!