I have been hearing a lot of sermons during this time about the death of Jesus at the cross. It's good to ponder. However, there is an emphasis that is dangerous and can creep up on us. We see it in the relics and holy things preserved by the Catholic church. I read the other day that the Holy Grail used at the last supper was found. Color me skeptical, Of course there is a half ton of nails used at the crucifixion floating around and enough cross fragments to build a very nice house. Thorn crowns of al kinds are everywhere and who can forget the movie "The Robe". Relics.
All this concentration is focused on the left hand side of the tomb. Before resurrection. The only relic that I might give a second thought to is the shroud. I put myself in the mindset of Jesus' disciples and friends. Its the third day. Jesus has been killed. They go to the tomb. Expect to find a dead body. He's not there. BUT they see this wrapping... the shroud. When they SAW it they believed. It's even mentioned. So it makes sense to think someone would gather it up and preserve it.
It's just so hard to grasp the whole idea that someone would stumble back up to Golgotha to gather nails, wood, thorns or wander back to the upper room to retrieve dinnerware after Jesus rose from the dead. WHY? Jesus was (IS) risen. He walked among them. He spoke to and ate with them. Why concentrate on events that no longer were relevant? That is the left side of the Tomb.
It is only a pre tomb mentality that spends time with things that really don't matter any more. Even the whole lenten season in which we are fish eating involved, even the way Communion is celebrated is in a way a RE-Crucifixion of Jesus... as if he had to once more come back and re-die for our sins.
I hate to tell you this, but your redemption, the forgiveness of your sins is not involved in the communion sacrament. That is a flawed understanding of communion. The glory of communion is in fact HIM. We commune with HIM. We sit with HIM, we take his body and blood not as a sacrifice, but as a connection with HIM. As a tangible recognition of his presence among us. A parosia of sorts. We meet with HIM in that act. We regain our conciseness of HIM.
Jesus death and resurrection was sufficient all in all. All your sins, past present and future are dealt with. Nothing else needs to be done. Your sins before you take communion are just as forgiven as the minute after you partake. The way communion is administered in Catholic Churches and many near Catholic Churches is a dredging up of HIS death. What should be happening and doesn't is celebrating this thanksgiving event as an encounter. He shows up... bodily... as least in elemental fashion.
Before I let many of my evangelical friends off the hook who celebrate communion as a remembrance without an encounter, they miss it too. It seems to be that it comes as a holdover from history. We do this because we (the church) always did. It's a weak reason to do so. Time to regain the mystery.
When I hear sermons on the death, suffering and the cross... I want to hear about the empty tomb, the King of Kings, the Hallelujah of the competed work.
Jesus after the resurrection didn't say to his disciples as a mandate, "Go gather up all kinds of artifacts, preserve them, use them to attract people, find some nails, cut up the cross, find my robe and the thorn crown, we're gonna need it".
No According to scripture there was a singularity of the post tomb message. "Feed my Sheep" and the Kingdom of God. Then after 40 days He stepped back into eternity to rule and reign as he does today. KING of KINGS.
Let's fix our eyes on the right side of the tomb. There is life everlasting in evidence there. On the left... we put him to death again and again. Certainly we must preach the cross of Christ and him Crucified, but that is not the whole story... it's his presence in our lives right here right now as the Lord of All that really matters.. He expects us to be partners with him in expanding HIS Kingdom. Let's be about our Father's work and stop trying to nail him once more to the cross. IT IS FINISHED!!