On Palm Sunday (that's the day after tomorrow) the Via Crucis Grid Blog will begin. It's not too late to sign up! I'm going to blog every station of the cross and I've been turning over a few ideas in my head about what to write. I think I may take different approaches depending on the station and where I'm at any given time--some more thoughtful, some more impressionistic, some more devotional, some more personal.
The Way of the Cross is essentially about Christ's suffering (the street he supposedly followed in Jerusalem is called the Via Dolorosa -- the way of sorrows). Easter is a time to celebrate the Resurrection, but much of Holy Week -- especially Good Friday -- is also a good time to think about suffering. Jesus' suffering, our suffering and that of those around us, and the suffering of all those in the world who are victims of war, poverty, and social injustice. This is not morbid: the contemplation of suffering in anticipation of the joy of the Resurrection gives us a context of promise and possibility to find meaning in suffering and to positively address the suffering around us.
Man, I'm sounding preachy, aren't I?
Crystal and I had an interesting discussion about the idea of sacrifice in the comments to my previous post. She gave me a link to an excellent article about the contrast between seeing the meaning of Christ's coming as sacrifice or as Incarnation. I essentially agree with most of the ideas of Duns Scotus, Rahner, et al. as explained in the article, but I don't completely want to do away with the idea of sacrifice. I would like to transform it, not see it as a payment in the cruel economy of atonement, but as a positive gift of love and of the ultimate act of solidarity of God made man. The Incarnation is not merely a taking on of flesh, but of the flesh of the most downtrodden and suffering.
I see this as not only giving the ultimate teaching and ultimate example, but as also as healing the world in a cosmic way. This wonderful paradox of the Son of God who dies mistreated is a way to show that two different images of Jesus--the Pantocrator, Ruler (and healer) of the Universe and the Ecce Homo, beaten human Christ--are one and the same.
So what does everyone think? What is the meaning of this suffering Christ, of this cross?