"....Now send us forth a people, forgiven, healed, renewed that we may proclaim your love to the world and continue in the risen life of Christ our Savior." This is the ending of the post-communion prayer we use at the Wednesday 10AM service of Eucharist with Healing Prayer. It's a powerful and marvelous idea that we, empowered by the Spirit and the sacraments, are able both to proclaim God's love to the world and continue in Christ's risen life.
Christ's risen life. Christ's life that has experienced death, gone to hell and back, and returned to new life again. Christ's risen life is a cruciform life. That may mean a life in which we each carry our own cross, find our own way as we order our steps after those of Jesus the Christ. It also means a life of both tension and balance, centeredness and purpose.
The greatest tension of a cross is at the intersection where the two perpendicular axes, the vertical and the horizontal, come together. We know we don't live in a literal three-storey universe with hell below, heaven above, and earth in between as some of our ancestors understood the cosmos. Yet our language still reflects that generally up connotes the good or desirable and down connotes the bad or undesirable. If the vertical axis of the cross represents a connection between heaven and earth, between God and us, it's easy to see how this maps onto "God is good, and humans are bad" because God is "up" and we are "down."
We, however, are made in God's image, so we are not inherently bad but inherently capable of growth in goodness with God's help. And none of us lives in relationship with the Triune God all alone. We are called to and we live in community with one another. If the horizontal axis of the cross represents our relationships to one another on this plane, then it looks like we are on one level. Yet we know that it's a very human tendency to rank and review, to make levels and strata and construct statuses that obscure the dignity and equality of every human being in God's view.
This is where we feel the tension of the cross. This is the cruciform tension of a cruciform life. It isn't always comfortable, but it is always genuine. It is centered. It is the intersection of the divine and the human. Do we dare to live there, in that tension that provides purpose and balance? In that position that may bring discomfort but also opens our hearts to greater risk and greater grace?
I'm with you on this journey as we continue in Christ's risen life and endeavor to live cruciform lives.