Sometimes the good news sounds like bad news at first. As we move deeper into the shadows of Lent, this is one of those times.
This Sunday we gather around the communion table and consider the words Jesus gave us when he gave us this sacrament: ‘This is my body, which is for you: do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way after supper he took the cup saying, ‘this cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ (1 Corinthians 11:23-25).
What if this is more than a ritual? What if Jesus is showing us, in word and deed, a new way to live in a violent and broken world? At the communion table we first see that there are treasures buried in grief and loss, church.
Most of us are completely uninterested in that revelation because we still desperately believe that Jesus is never going to allow anything unbearable to happen to us. I wonder how we got that idea from a savior who taught us that life and salvation are found in his broken body and spilled blood?
God brings meaning, salvation, goodness, and life out of pain, injustice, violence and suffering. This is bad news if you believe right living and believing is going to protect you from pain.
But if you are grieving right now, if you are suffering the loss of a loved one, the loss of a dream, the loss of a future, the loss of security or hope — if you are wondering why, if God loves you and you love God, why, why, why did you end up here — then the news that God’s glory manifests most powerfully and tenderly and transformatively in the midst of suffering and in the face of death — that is good news indeed.