I wrote the following reflection after experiencing The 99 when they were in Fresno last fall. According to their website, “The 99 is a walkthrough theater that graphically reenacts the five leading causes of death in teenagers and young adults. Many of these deaths are influenced by drugs or alcohol and a vast majority of them can be avoided.” Seeing the horrors of the different scenes was a sobering experience but the one that stuck with me was the final one – Jesus nailed to the cross, gasping for his last breaths. Today, on Good Friday, lets remember just how much Jesus gave up for our sakes.
Jesus crucified. Nailed to a cross. Beaten, whipped. Violent, bloody. Horrific. My Jesus, my savior subjected to horrendous, unbearable violence. How can I look at him? His body broken. Broken in every sense. Nothing left. Blood pouring out. He gave it all. Who am I that he should care for me? I am his creation, his beloved. He died that we may live. To overcome the fear, the bondage, the cruelty and violence of this world. His death was just as horrific as the horrors of this world. Yet he was the only one truly without sin, truly blameless. Truly undeserving. He died for those that feel unloved. For those born into a trap they can’t break free of. For those who feel their lives aren’t worth living. For those too young to choose for themselves. The horror, the violence he submitted to matches the horror of what we do to each other. Father forgive us, for we know not what we do. Oh Father God, have mercy on us. You came down to our level in every sense. You let yourself become a victim of the worst violence and evil we are capable of knowing that you alone could overcome. Your life was the only one that would pay the price. That would set things right. I don’t understand how, but I believe that it is true. The cross is not pretty, it is not beautiful. It is violent, bloody and horrific. Yet it is the only hope we have that one day all will be fully beautiful again.