By Pastor Travis Norton
I’ve been captivated by the reaction and confusion over the statue of Jesus as a homeless person sleeping on a bench in Davidson. As a Lutheran, the statue made perfect sense to me, almost immediately.
Lutherans are known, and we’re not alone in this, for believing what Martin Luther called a "theology of the cross." We believe God is most fully revealed and understood through Jesus’ death and resurrection. The cross shows us who God is.
God is someone who knows suffering, who knows pain and loss, who knows betrayal and humiliation. So seeing a statue of Jesus as a homeless man, identifying with the least among us, makes perfect sense.
That’s who God is. I believe in a God who identifies with those who suffer in our world. They are first on his list of people to love and serve. They should be first on our list as well!
If you’ve ever been betrayed, abused or scared, the cross reveals a God who is willing to bear that pain with you. If you know pain of any kind, the cross reveals a God who suffers with you.
God is found in the darkness, because that’s where we are. We don’t find God by cleaning ourselves up, fixing our own problems, becoming better people.
No amount of positive thinking or "name it, claim it" theology will ever help us reach God. The point of the cross is that we can’t reach God. We are reached by God.
On the cross, God came down to us, all the way down. He took the worst of our experience on himself and overcame it when He was raised from the dead. This is the good news we Christians proclaim.
At my church, we just built a new sanctuary and the first thing you see when you come in is the cross. A beautiful cross that reminds us of the God who comes to us before we are able to come to Him.
Travis Norton is senior pastor of Community in Christ Lutheran Church in Cornelius.