Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Relatively Innocuous Post about Relationships and the Crucifixion

Waking up to over a dozen facebook notifications about Chick-fil-A was a bit of a surprise. I pride myself on staying current with culture and theology, and this day apparently slipped right past me.

But, honestly, though some have asked me my thoughts on that debacle, I couldn't care less. Instead, I had a dream about someone very special. It was a good dream.

The background is necessary. I found a couple of letters written by this person to me a while back, when they were going through a really tough time. I reread them a couple times and I remember vividly what they were suffering and why they felt alone. Their background is rocky, and they are still struggling to piece together everything that happened to them.

Yes. I am being intentionally vague.

But these letters really began to bother me, and I couldn't figure out why. I mean, they bothered me then, but not in the same way.  Looking back, I imagine that it was more based on regret and wishing that things could've been handled differently. Or that in that hopeless place there would've been something greater than sorrow.

Solidarity.

God's solidarity with us upon the cross is the ultimate identification with humanity. In being crucified for the sins of the world, He claimed not only everyone's sin, but also experienced with us the ultimate separation of sin from God.

But this struck me quite hard. I was taught in my childhood and at Biola that the Father had turned his back on the Son, thus the reason Christ cried out. But Jesus was quoting a messianic psalm (ch22) that prophesied his death. In essence, bringing solidarity between the OT and the NT. However, that isn't what struck me in these letters and in these words. Verse 24:
For he has not despised or scorned
    the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
    but has listened to his cry for help. 
I don't quite see anywhere in Scripture that demands that God turned his back on his Son. In fact, Habbakuk 1:13 is often the proof text to prove that God cannot look upon sin. However, the second part of the verse seems to refute that. Here is the entire verse:
You who are of purer eyes than to see evil
    and cannot look at wrong,
why do you idly look at traitors
    and remain silent when the wicked swallows up
    the man more righteous than he?
Dealing with theodicy and the problem of evil was something that seemed quite fervent in the mind of the prophet. Where was God's solidarity with humanity in such evil? Where was I in the other person's suffering? 

If God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, then I wonder about the solidarity the Godhead achieved on the cross, and what that means for relationships. We are to experience with the broken and the hurt, not turn our face from them. I see no reason to ponder the reasons why God could not look upon sin, as his entire earthly ministry was ministering to sinners.

I think that is why these letters bothered me so much. Though there is genuine relationship between us, it could always be better. A fractious relationship can be made whole in time, but in the meantime, solidarity is an ideal that should be driven towards. Distance should not separate us from one another.
Solidarity between sinners and God, and sinners and sinners. Makes me want to call this person right now. 

Just thinking in type.

--Nick

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