By Douglas Sloan
God died on the cross with Jesus.
When we finally come to accept and internalize and act upon and live out God as unrestrained love and unconditional grace as a way of communal life and individual being, then that is when our old selves die and we are resurrected as a transformed being – as a child of God and a citizen of the Kingdom of God here and now.
This is usually not so much a lightning-struck moment as a long metamorphosis. A consequence of which is the way in which it backwashes (cleanses?) and reclaims and resurrects and transforms our view of scripture and our relationship with God. No longer is scripture about how to see ourselves and others as sinners. No longer is God, scripturally or relationally, a wrathful patriarchal God who metes out binary judgment and eternal vengeance. That view of God and that interpretation of the Torah is what died on the cross with Jesus. Jesus did not die for us, Jesus died for God. Jesus died so that the old God of oppressive theocracies and the nationalistic civic religions of empires could be buried without ceremony and without mourning. Jesus died so that the God of unrestrained love and unconditional grace could be resurrected to transform our lives – and that is revealed as the purpose and core of the Torah and the Prophets – and that is the purpose and core of the stories about the resurrected Jesus. The Good News is that we can live as communities of justice and compassion. The Good News is that we can be individuals of generosity and hospitality who provide healthy service to others. The Good News is that this is what God created us to be, this is what we are meant to be, this is living to our full potential – being fully human, this is us at our best – individuals who are lovingly and graciously engaged in living in the present as a single godly community. This is the Good News.