"Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead." These words from the ancient Apostles' Creed form a foundation for Christian faith.
They’re a part of what we believe, and a part of who we are.
Jesus was murdered as voices of hatred shouted out in thunderous support. He died. He descended into the darkest places of existence. Then, he rose from the dead to be with God, with death having lost its sting.
Humankind is made in the Imago Dei – the image of God. This, first noted in the very first chapter of Genesis, is a part of the foundation of our faith, too. The face of each person bears the face of God, simply by virtue of having been created by God.
This, too, is what we believe, and who we are.
The uncomfortable truth, then, is this:
We can't speak of the Crucifixion of Christ as if it were in the past tense.
Jesus was crucified, and Jesus IS crucified, and Jesus will continue to be crucified, each and every time a beloved child of God is lost to violence rooted in hatred.
Jesus is crucified when a queer person in a club is shot dead, when all they wanted to do was dance.
Jesus is crucified when an elementary schooler is murdered in the middle of what should’ve been an ordinary day of fun and learning.
Jesus is crucified when a grocery store in a black neighborhood becomes yet another shooting range for white supremacist rage.
Jesus is crucified when college students are stabbed in their sleep, with answers impossibly slow to be uncovered.
Jesus is crucified when Jewish people are targeted as they make their way to synagogue.
Jesus is crucified when a trans person of color is slain for having done nothing but have the audacity to be.
Jesus is crucified when a migrant farmworker held in modern-day slavery dies from heat stroke, or suffocation, or hunger, or violence at the hands of their farm bosses.
Jesus is crucified when our love of sports affords us the privilege to overlook the deaths of queer Qataris, or when our desire to maintain a false global peace muffles the voices of Irani women seeking freedom, or when the plight of Ukrainians (or Syrians, or Palestinians, or... fill in the blank) is largely ignored because we have our own problems "over here."
Jesus is crucified when a death row inmate is strapped to the electric chair, in front of a spectators' room as their life is taken from them by the state.
Jesus is crucified when our “personal rights and freedoms” are more highly valued than the freedom of others to simply wake up in the morning to greet a new day.
Jesus is crucified when the innocent bystanders remain silent, not speaking truth to power, not seeking change, not fighting for justice, but only anxiously awaiting the headlines of the next time Jesus will be crucified, yet again.
How long, O Lord? How long? And why does death still sting?
I'm a husband, father, news junkie, theatre lover, enneagram enthusiast, bi advocate, amateur foodie, wannabe barista, and an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
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