But this is not the way of the Cross; it is not the way of resurrection. The Cross transforms suffering, not by keeping it at a distance, but by Christ taking the world’s suffering upon Himself. On the Cross we see Jesus’s body broken and blood spilled. On the Cross we see what God’s presence in the world looks like.
If we take the Cross at face value, it doesn’t look like good news. It looks like failure. It looks like death. But through eyes of faith, we see God at work redeeming the world.
So this is the call of Easter, the invitation to which we must now respond: Come and die, that you might truly live.
We respond to this call every day as we encounter the needs of the people around us.
At CLA-LA, our staff and volunteers are brought face-to-face with the needs of our neighbors at our legal clinics. The family trying to make ends meet, watching as inconveniences pile up into impossibilities, listening as promises of help ring hollow. The woman whose love for her children keeps her going, and the man whose past challenges are matched by his determination to show up for his kids. People dealing with the end of a job, a breach of trust, the loss of housing, an unexpected trauma, the death of a loved one. Many times we discover answers together; our volunteers and clients work together to see solutions take shape. But sometimes the way forward isn't clear.
Whether we are dealing with issues that arise in our own lives or seeking to provide help to others, sometimes answers elude us. Sometimes all we can do is acknowledge the reality of heartbreak, of disappointment, of injustice. But even then we know that these are not last word.
At the same time and in the same place that we encounter life's most difficult struggles, the Spirit is at work bringing new creation. But we'll miss it if we hide from the world around us and focus only on what we can control. We won't hear it if we only ask the questions for which we already have the answers. We won't see it if we look away.
So this Easter week, don’t turn away from the world’s suffering. Give up trying to hold on to a shallow sense of control; stop chasing validation through success. Place the whole weight of your life and concerns in the hands of the One who died for you. Look for the Spirit's work in the places you'd rather ignore.
Answer the call of Easter to go courageously toward the world's pain, not away from it.
And do so in hope—hope in the God of resurrection.