As I anticipate our celebration of the Triduum and our worship on Good Friday, I’m
aware that the crucifixion isn’t the primary way I connect to the story of Jesus. The
incarnation, Jesus’ teaching, and his moral example capture my imagination much
more than most of Holy Week does. As such, I was grateful to stumble across this
passage written by Jerome, a priest and monk in Bethlehem who died in 420:
The cross of Christ is the support of humankind. Our dwelling is built on this column.
When I speak of the cross, I am not speaking of the wood, but of the Passion. This
cross is found as much in Britain and in India, and in the whole universe. For what does
Christ say in the gospel? “If you do not take up your cross each day and follow in my
footsteps, if your soul is not ready to take up the cross as mine was taken up for you,
you cannot be my disciple.” Blessed are those who bear the cross and the resurrection
in their hearts.
Jerome reminds us that the liturgies we experience this week aren’t memorials to
long-ago historical events. Rather, our liturgies connect us to a reality that is
present with us right now.
As followers of Jesus, when we choose to die to our selves, we participate in the
incredible, world-changing things that Jesus did so long ago. We don’t just
remember those events—we participate in them. When we choose to turn the
other cheek, or go the extra mile, or forgive those who persecute us, we join Jesus
in doing so. We join Jesus in offering ourselves for the life of the world.
To be clear, it’s not that when I choose to, say, forego revenge and quietly brake
while saying a prayer for the person who cut me off in traffic somehow rescues the
world from sin. God has already accomplished that in Christ’s death and
resurrection. Instead, by choosing to die to myself, even in tiny ways, I join Jesus in
that self-offering. By choosing the path of the cross, we join in God’s
transformation and redemption of the world.I’m excited to join in God’s recreation of the world as we connect with that reality in worship this Holy Week. I hope you’re excited about it, too, and I hope you’ll join me as we celebrate the action of God in transforming and redeeming the world through the death and resurrection of Jesus.