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Location: Greensboro, NC, United States

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The Nightmare of the Crucifixion

I read a piece of literature yesterday that described the crucifixion of Jesus as "the recurring nightmare of the church".  To reference it further or to quote it in context wouldn't make sense.  But I thought it was a brilliant, evocative image.  The cross is the ultimate nightmare, one that we rehearse over and over again - in our memories, in our deeds, in our words, and in our worship.  Imagine the worst possible thing happening to a person, and that is what stands at the center of our worship.  A man who, unlike us, truly deserves having no ill done to him.  Truly innocent of sin, and positively righteous in all he is and does.  Chased down by monsters and brutally killed, as in a horror story - the Psalms picture this repeatedly.  Like all good horror stories, absolute good exists, and wins in the end.  But this doesn't change the fact that the nightmare really is a nightmare, the horror story really is a horror story.

To worship God is to willingly descend again and again into sleep, knowing the nightmare awaits us.  Serving Christ entails being pursued by monsters.  To live in Christ is to participate in His nightmare, all the while knowing also that one day the nightmare will end for good, when we awake to sleep no more. 

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