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The Awful Glory of the Crucifixion – A Reflection by Rick Morley

April 2, 2012

In the Synoptics the Crucifixion is a moment of agony. Jesus is crying out in abandonment while being tortured. In John, however, the Passion is a moment of glory. It’s the raising up of the Son of God for all the world to see. His life isn’t ripped from him, but he “gives up” his Spirit. And, the moment of death corresponds to the sacrifice of the Paschal lambs in the Temple.

Every year we begin each Holy Week in a Palm Sunday Liturgy which features a Synoptic account, and every year on Good Friday we read from the account in John. It’s important not to conflate the two into one bland catch-all Passion. For when the first Christians spoke of, preached on, and wrote about the death of Our Lord, they did so in different ways. Sometimes they conveyed the event as horrendous and horrific. They used language that is painful to read aloud. And other times the first Christians spoke of his death as a fulfillment, and an opportunity for the whole world to see and know the glory of God and the all-encompassing power of His love.

It’s not that one version of the story is more ‘right’ or ‘correct’ than the other. They are both True. They are both Right. They both need preached, and taught, and absorbed. The Crucifixion was awful. And it was the ultimate moment of Glory.

(This is an edited form of a posting by the Reverend Rick Morley on his blog “A Garden Path.” For the original posting, please click here.)

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