Traditionally understood as atonement for the sins of mankind, the crucified Jesus invites us, rather, to see and feel an all-encompassing embrace of Divine Love.
Christian theology defines God as being One God existing in three persons, each being co-equal, co-eternal, and consubstantial. This Trinity, known as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, is three persons sharing one essence. The defining statement of belief in Apostolic Christianity is the Nicene Creed. It begins, “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible…”
Nothing therefore exists outside or beyond this One God. In Isaiah 45:7 we read, “I form light and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I the LORD do all these things.” Other translations read, “I send good times and bad times;” “I make peace and create calamity;” “I bring prosperity and create disaster.” If nothing exists outside or beyond God, then this makes perfect sense. All events have their potential and realization within the Oneness that is God.
We often hear, and we have probably asked, that in the midst of difficulties, Where is God? or Why is God doing this? and Why is God so unfair?
God created a world of possibilities for us. Quantum Physics reveals this truth as a field of consciousness in which all sorts of potentialities and possibilities exist. We humans, made in the image and likeness of God and functioning as co-participants with God, are capable of individually and collectively creating a Heaven on earth or a hell on earth. To create and live within Heaven on earth requires our humility and sacrifice, just as we see modeled for us in the birth of Jesus amidst the humblest of circumstances, and as we see modeled in His sacrifice on the Cross–a sacrifice not of atonement but of Divine Love.
In the world, there is vast potential and possibility for us to live in darkness, evil, and violence. There also exists the vast potential and possibility for us to live within Divine Light and Love. On the cross, we see the way forward in the trajectory of the Love that is God, and of the Heart of God. We see Jesus taking upon Himself and into Himself the possibility and potential of evil, violence, and death. In turn, we conceive of this as a Trinitarian modeling of subsuming destructive energy and power that is channeled into the Light and Love of the Resurrection.
As you and I are united in and through His way of being and His pattern of life, and so choose to model it in our daily lives, we can discover within the image of the crucifix an outpouring of the Divine Love of the Blessed Trinity. There is a perceptible shift occurring; it is moving the practice of Christianity from a mental assent of dogma and doctrine to a mystical intimacy with a God of Divine and Enduring Love.
Meditating before a crucifix, properly seen, can bring us into that union and empower our lives for sacrificial service. This becomes a response of the heart, not simply a response of the mind.