The Scandal of the Cross
Arthur Smith, Council of Twelve Apostles
…and above all things, clothe yourselves with the bonds of charity, as with a mantle, which is a bond of perfectness and peace; pray always, that you may not faint until I come; behold, and lo, I will come quickly and receive you unto myself. Amen. -Doctrine and Covenants 85:38c
What does Easter mean to me?
To this day we find ourselves wondering what it means when bad things happen.
Surely he must have done something to deserve this.
What did I do to deserve this?!
People whisper this about neighbors, about family.
People wonder it about themselves in fits of self-doubt.
But this was the scandal of the cross.
Everybody knew that bad things happened to bad people. This was “common knowledge.”
Why was that man born blind? Whose sin had caused that?
Sin had to be behind every illness or every calamity.
Hebrew scripture specifically explained that people who were hung on crosses were cursed.
But Easter is about a people beginning to proclaim, in spite of all common knowledge,
in spite of what scripture said, that Jesus Christ was Lord!
The one who suffered and died a horrible death-on a cross no less-
that one really was LORD!!!
God had claimed the cross!
So when you sit in your doctor’s office and you hear that diagnosis,
and you find yourself wondering, “Why? What did I do to deserve this?”
No matter what happens, instead of calculating what you were probably due
or what others are due or what you must have done or what others have done,
instead, starting with this Easter, remember the scandal of the cross.
He died on the cross AND he is LORD!
This is happening to you, or to your family, or to your friends, or to the street person,
or to the prisoner, AND they are loved with an everlasting, eternal, ultimate love.
For me, that’s probably the most important message of Easter.
“Every breath is a resurrection” (Gregory Orr).
Breath of Life
Take a few moments right now to breathe. Simply observe each inhale and exhale. Pay attention to how it feels in your body. Notice the rise and fall of your chest. Notice how you breathe even when you aren’t thinking about it, how your body instinctively knows how to keep you alive without your thought or effort. In this moment, you are alive. Receive this awareness as an expression of divine grace. In joy or despair, loss or celebration, your body continues breathing. How is your breath a resurrection this day?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.