The Beauty and Joy in the Ugly Depressing Cross

The Beauty and Joy in the Ugly Depressing Cross April 7, 2023

Holy week is the most solemn, sacred and most beautiful time of the year.

We celebrate with Joy the Goodness and Truth of our Belief
that God loves us and set us free from the consequences of living
in a world drenched in sin and death.

But to those first believers who saw the events of holy week happen live and in person
it was anything but beautiful and joyful.
It was ugly and depressing.

To those frightened, fragile, faithless disciples...
who ran like scared sheep.
When their messiah who they saw
cure the blind man,
walk on water,
calm the storm,
raise Lazarus from the dead,
preach like nobody before Him with authority the scribes didn’t have,
was highly praised by the prophet John the Baptist,
humbled them when they got out of line with anger or pride,
was arrested by an gazillion scary looking buff roman guards,
feared that their dreams of following the son of God were crushed.

They were so shaken by his arrest that the leader Christ had appointed
denied knowing the man he said he would go to death for.
The one who handed Him over to those who would kill Him, killed himself out of shame and guilt.
It was ugly to have this disappointment of a holy rabbi reduced to a death sentence, causing severe depression on all who deserted Him.

To those fearful, faithful followers...
who were the women and one disciple whom Jesus loved.
When they saw the beloved good and just man
whipped mercilessly,
crowned with pressing cruelty with thorns in a crown on his head
and pressed to carry the his death sentence on his shoulders
they found it ugly that injustice to this good and just man should happen
at the hands of the cruel non-Jew controlling their city.
They wept out of depression to these awful events they could do nothing about.

To those vengeful vicious viceful men of power…
who hated Jesus and wanted Him dead.
When they saw the torture, humiliation and life leaking from his body
they were giddy and gleeful that this troublesome violator of Mosaic law
could no longer interfere with their strict observance of Judaism
or their status as great men.
His ways of deviating from tradition was ugly as sin, so he had to die.
Behold the Man whose influence on others was depressing and making the religious authorities sad so He had to die.

It’s only from the vantage point of history that the ugliness of this event seems beautiful.
It’s only from knowing the Rest of the Story that we know this tale of woe doesn’t stay buried with depression.
We as believers in the 21st century see and know the love being poured in this sacrifice.
We can all answer Pilot’s question to Jesus “What is Truth?”
He is Truth. He is Love. He is Goodness. He is Beauty incarnated.
We see the Joy about to spring forth from the empty attempt to kill the life of God and keep Him buried in the earth He created.

One person starts by playing the Ode of Joy which is the resurrection.
Then another person joins in playing along.
Then another.
And another.
People keep joining until a full orchestra is playing their hearts out
spreading this Joy for all to hear.
It’s a joy not contained in a concert hall but a joy that
is playing such music in the midst of ordinary everyday life.
A joy that is encased and surrounded by beauty
leaving ugliness and depression permanently dead in the grave reserved for
someone who couldn’t remain dead in there.

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