I look at the story not as a grand Christian truth, but rather as a story of someone who has been betrayed by his best friends, falsely accused, taken beyond the limits of his endurance for cruelty and pain. We can all relate, I think, to "his moment of doubt and pain," feeling utterly alone, bereft, unsure of the way ahead.
Yet somehow Jesus is supposed to have known that the way ahead was good. That even the worst things could be overcome, and overcome spectacularly. So I see the message of the crucifixion not as one of pain, but ultimately of hope.
A Course in Miracles backs me up. When the text says "God's son" or "the Son of God," it is talking about everyone. You, me, everybody. Everybody.
Let us not spend this holy week brooding on the crucifixion of God's Son, but happily in the celebration of his release. For Easter is the sign of peace, not pain. A slain Christ has no meaning. But a risen Christ becomes the symbol of the Son of God's forgiveness on himself; the sign he looks upon himself as healed and whole.Remember. Everybody.
This week begins with palms and ends with lilies, the white and holy sign the Son of God is innocent. Let no dark sign of crucifixion intervene between the journey and its purpose; between the acceptance of the truth and its expression. This week we celebrate life, not death.
And we honor the perfect purity of the Son of God, and not his sins. Offer your brother the gift of lilies, not the crown of thorns; the gift of love and not the "gift" of fear.
You stand beside your brother, thorns in one hand and lilies in the other, uncertain which to give. Join now with me and throw away the thorns, offering the lilies to replace them. This Easter I would have the gift of your forgiveness offered by you to me, and returned by me to you. We cannot be united in crucifixion and in death. Nor can the resurrection be complete till your forgiveness rests on Christ, along with mine.