As a Progressive Christian, even though I am gratefully in a progressive church, I find Holy Week challenging. The theology that God required a perfect human sacrifice (i.e. Jesus) to save humanity from their sinfulness is pervasive and repugnant to me. As John Dominic Crossan has said, this type of theology is a sin against God by humans. How could we possibly have twisted the strength, integrity and love of Jesus into a fulfillment of punishment by God, the Divine Judge? And how could we possibly have twisted a God of boundless, unconditional love into a cold, executioner? It boggles my mind.
Now, I obviously don’t believe that “Jesus died for our sins,” and I don’t preach this. But I am all too aware that the majority of Christians who gather for Good Friday and Easter will hear this message thus perpetuating fear-based, spiritually abusive theology.
Having said this, our spiritual community choses to gather on Friday, not to remember how sinful we are and how “good” it was that Jesus died to save us. Rather we gather for a Day of Tears. We gather to remember that an innocent, peaceful, justice oriented, loving man was horribly executed by the powers of the day… because they could. We gather to honor our tears and the tears of all those who have experienced injustice, sorrow, pain, hopelessness and despair. We gather together to symbolically remember that we stand together during these times of darkness, fear, confusion and mourning. We gather because there is a time for everything, and this is our time to grieve. And, finally, we will gather because we know that with God there is always hope.
Easter morning does not bring us to a glorification of the cross, but to a hope-filled day where all things are possible. Dawn always comes after darkness, dancing eventually returns after mourning, new beginnings cannot arrive without endings, and love transcends death.