“We can’t find goodness anywhere.”
Psalm 4:6 (Common English Bible)
It would seem that the one who wrote these words has been paying attention to our daily news. After skimming the headlines of the morning paper or turning off the nightly news these seem to be our words; “We can’t find goodness anywhere.” A plane crash that kills everyone on board, religious extremist who take innocent lives, and violence in our cities – is any of that good? There are many who are weary; many who would ask, isn’t there anything good for us to see?
The mood here is one of desperation. This is a plea for someone, anyone, to show us something good – to point to the light in the darkness. And the darkness seems vast. Yet, though we may seek a pile of ready-made answers, the Bible does not provide them. Snappy answers or smooth arguments to the agonizing question of human experience are absent. All that remains is this plea before God. But that is something. A plea before God is an affirmation of faith that there is God. There may be darkness in the world. But God is also in the world.
We may ask, “Why God would let something like this happen?” I received that very question this week in my email box. Yet, we must know that this is not the first time this question has been seriously raised. This is a question that stretches forward to us from the beginning of human sin. And there is our best clue to our question; human sin. All of humanity participates in a rebellion against God’s good purposes. It is that rebellion – both individual and corporate – that results in brokenness and hurt to others. The cross of Jesus is the central symbol of our faith because it reminds us that much happens in our world that is outside of God good desire for us. But God is in the world and, through the cross, seeks to reclaim this world stained and broken by sin
The God of love is not absent in this world filled with bad news. The cross demonstrates that God is right in the middle of it. More, the cross powerfully reminds us that even in the midst of our active rebellion, even while we are sinners, God dies for us. Who does that? Who dies for someone who is hurling their worst behavior at you? This Holy Week we are given that answer once again.