by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director
While sitting on my lap a few years ago, my granddaughter was playing with the small cross I wear around my neck. As she turned the cross around in her hands, she shared her theological wisdom, saying loud enough for everyone to hear:
“JE-SUS DI-ED on a cross. He DI-ED on a cross. You know, JE-SUS DI-ED on a cross for EV-ER-Y-BODY.”
That was the first time she’d said it and I smiled at her Texas accent and profound words.
After that, every time I saw her, I do mean every time, she would hug me and say “JE-SUS DI-ED on a cross, for EV-ER-Y-BODY, yah know?”
Week after week, we heard this refrain. Soon, with Holy Week approaching, I felt a need to deepen her theology of the cross. I slipped a little silver heart on the same chain to see if she would notice.
The next time I saw her, she grabbed my necklace and started with the “JE-SUS…” then stopped in mid-sentence. She looked at me, tilted her head, and asked, “Hey, is Jesus your sweetheart?”
Wow. Is Jesus my sweetheart?
Just for a minute, I thought, I’m going with yes. Jesus is my sweetheart. A lover who lives with me through all the heartache, suffering, fear, joy, and excitement that life can bring. Living with Jesus as my sweetheart is kind of nice, right? Then it hit me. I was domesticating the resurrection for my personal benefit.
The me-and-Jesus romance is missing the real point of the crucifixion. I came desperately close to losing the power of the cross which she had already claimed in her childlike theological perspective.
“JE-SUS DI-ED on a cross, FOR EV-ER-Y BODY, yah know?”
Who’s outside of everybody? Sweet Holy Week is a pilgrimage marking the liberation of all of humanity.
“JE-SUS DI-ED on a cross, FOR EV-ER-Y-BODY, yah know?”