Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Part #2: Good Friday?

How could the murder of the Son of God by legal authorities and religious leaders be “good”?!

In the evil act itself, certainly not.

But rather the “good” comes from the Christian vision that God is love, and that in his loving providence God can bring good out of even the worst evil acts of humans. And what could be worse than the political execution of the Son of God by one of the supposedly greatest civilizations of humankind and by the leaders of a religious group chosen by God to serve him in order to bless all humans?

In Jesus’ execution, the worst became the best because God used the vile act to show us how even in our worst behavior and most hateful attitude, God still loves us. No matter what. God loves everyone of us, no exceptions. Yes God loves the Taliban, the serial murderer, the self-righteous prig, the rapist, the racist, the child molester, the liar, the self-centered right and left wing politicians, ALL of us, despite our evil actions.

So seemingly impossible for us. But God’s love is infinite, everlasting, never ending… as 1 Corinthians 13 shows, Love is the greatest and deepest and widest characteristic of God.

Jesus, hard as it is to fathom, even forgave the very Roman soldiers who tortured him, and who were now crucifying him and gambling for his clothes.

The terrible evil of humans, God turned to the redemption of all humankind!

It is a vile lie of many religious leaders of the present who claim God only willed a “limited atonement,” that God only loves to save some of us, has foreordained most of us not to be saved, and even worse that God has a secret will wherein God wills every evil act for his own glory.

How morally sick. What an hellish theology:-( Contrast that with John 3:16 “God so loved the world (Greek ‘Cosmos’) and I John 2:2 “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.)

On the contrary, God took this rejection and murder of Jesus, his dear Son, and through his eternal love turned this atrocity into the deliverance of every single human who has ever lived and who will ever live!

Billy Graham preached so movingly in his famous sermon, when he emphasized that Jesus would have suffered and died even if only one human had sinned! That is how great the love of God for everyone, every single one of us. Praise God. Maybe sing “The Love of God” now.

If you have trouble getting your mind around this Christian vision—of how God can turn a legal murder into love for the very Roman soldiers who carried it out and extend that redemption to everyone—consider this very human example from the days of the Civil Rights Movement.

At the 16th Street Baptist Church in September 15, 1963 “…twenty-six children were walking into the basement assembly room to prepare for the sermon entitled “The Love That Forgives,” when the bomb exploded. Four girls, Addie Mae Collins (age 14), Denise McNair (age 11), Carole Robertson (age 14), and Cynthia Wesley (age 14), were killed in the attack, and 22 additional people were injured..."

"The explosion blew a hole in the church's rear wall, destroyed the back steps and all but one stained-glass window, which showed Christ leading a group of little children.”

Martin Luther King Jr. preached their memorial service and said, “These children unoffending, innocent, and beautiful were the victims of one of the most vicious and tragic crimes ever perpetrated against humanity…my friends, they did not die in vain. (Yeah) God still has a way of wringing good out of evil. (Oh yes) And history has proven over and over again that unmerited suffering is redemptive."

"The innocent blood of these little girls may well serve as a redemptive force (Yeah) that will bring new light to this dark city. (Yeah. Mmm) The holy Scripture says, 'A little child shall lead them.'"

Was that “Good Sunday”?

In the sense of evil, NO WAY!

Yet from God’s loving redemptive perspective of opposing and defeating that horrific evil, yes.

King explains in his sermon how God can bring good out of even the murder of four young teens, how God seeks to redeem even the worst white racists despite, and yet through their horrendous murders.

And many racists in the United States were redeemed from their sin and self-righteousness, when they repented and turned to God in Christ.

So, yes, strangely that evil church bombing, that tragic Sunday was turned to “good.”

Now write that large for the Son of God’s murder, and how that evil act has been turned by the love of God for every one of us into Good News.

Amen—Let it be so.

To be continued--But what about the Nazi Holocaust?

Daniel Wilcox

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