The Day We Murdered God

Good Friday is the day on which the Christian people remember our having murdered God.

People often ask for a sign. People often ask for God to show up miraculously. People often ask God to burst forth in a show of resplendent power and unparalleled magnificence. And to be sure, God can and has done so in the past–but when it came time for God to walk among us as one of us, when it came time for God to take on our human fleshliness, when it came time for God to change everything, we couldn’t handle it. God defied our expectations and we reacted against him. We tore him to shreds, threw a tree on his back and told him to get the heck out of our city. We nailed him there so he wouldn’t come back and challenge our status quo anymore.

We tricked ourselves, because in our killing God, God killed death.

This was the ultimate reversal of the status quo–our lives are no longer bent on a trajectory towards death, but thanks to Christ our God trampling down death by death, our lives are now headed towards life ever brighter, life ever grander, life ever more aflame with the love of God. Yet still today we try to tell God that we don’t want the status quo to be changed. Our deathly orientation allows us to unflinchingly trample over others in our efforts to postpone death’s inevitability. We steal from the poor. We exploit the weak. We destroy. We steal life from others so that we may avoid our own death.

But the way of God is to relinquish life for others. God relinquishes his inexhaustible life to give life to us all by destroying death. Indeed, to be a Christian is to be converted from taking life to giving it. It is no miracle that God rose from the dead; how could he, the author of life, not do so? The true miracle is that God would die. The true miracle is that God enters into that thing which humanity has feared most of all from its very beginning and ransacks it, taking its prisoners captive and setting them free in life come Sunday morning.

Today we remember death. Today we remember that we too will taste death. But we also remember that we look towards the great Sunday morning to come when death will fall still at last, its throes finally silenced, its power finally spent. And while we await that great morning to come we must continue giving up of our life and telling people the good news: death is dead!

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