The kids got into bed a bit late last night. Well, I guess more on-time by our summer schedule. It was truly amazing how smoothly the routine of picking books, final adjustments, reading books, and getting into bed went. A quiet blessing at the end of the day, especially as it was the first of many nights in a row I am a single parent due to work travel.
As I was giving my 4 yr old a final kiss, he asked me “Why is God attached to a cross?”
Simultaneously, these thoughts went through my head:
I just love you!
Attached? God? Interesting way to put it.
Okay, time to translate the Master of Divinity into a children’s sermon.
This is going on Facebook.
What do I say at 9pm at night?
I have a smart son!
Yeah! Going to church is working!
My response was four-fold (too much exegesis???):
1) It’s complicated. (He’s generally okay with this answer – knowing he has to think about it.)
2) It was Jesus, not God, on the cross (well, technically….).
3) Because Jesus was attached to the cross, when we do bad things, we are forgiven. If Jesus hadn’t been attached to the cross, when we do bad things, we would be bad.
4) (As a concerned mother wanting to prevent any nightmares for a preschooler, noting to correct this later:) It didn’t hurt. (He knew better, looking at me funny.)
His next comment? “Jesus was old!”
Me: “He was younger than me!”
Him, with a smile: “No way!”
With so much time and work through the centuries of theologians and congregants and people just glancing up at a crucifix trying to figure it all out, humanity has come up with so many answers to this question. We try so hard to make it not hurt for Jesus, to deny that the Parent God murdered the Son Jesus, to make a torture device “pretty”.
I guess, in some ways, I’m right there with my 4-year-old. A simple answer is all I need.
Forgiving Lord, thank you for being the final sacrifice so that we are eternally forgiven. You have created us, called us and have prepared a way so that we may live in your unending love. Amen.