An Asian Christian woman living in London blogging about the everyday issues of religion

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Why do we celebrate the 'violence at the cross'?

I am often asked by non-Christians about the sanity of celebrating the 'violence at the cross'. In other words some people see the crucifixion as a violent death (which it was) and wonder why Christians go to such lengths to honour this when Christianity is meant to be about peace. A good question, I think.
However, the question does presuppose that the crucifixion was all about a painful and lingering death which marked the demise of Jesus and nothing more. The questioners miss the point that Good Friday, though it is about thinking of the suffering Jesus endured, is also about the miracle of the resurrection. Goodness can come out of evil. That is the whole message of Easter which people miss.
In contemporary times, violence has become a pervasive element of our lives. The 24 hour news channels show us pictures of violence being carried out all over the world. Violence is peppered throughout our TV programmes, magazines, video games and those who can endure watching violence fuelled films like Scream are seen as macho. Children boast to each other about their high thresholds for being able to view horror films. How then do we inject compassion as an antidote to violence in these situations?
Religion has a great part to play here. It introduces the concepts of empathy, concern for the wellbeing of others and justice which are all human experiences that can counterract the endless appetite for violence. The 'violence at the cross' is a strong visual aid for helping us rewrite our faith narrative against injustice.

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