Forgiving the unforgivable is hard. So was the cross: hard words, hard wood, hard nails.

William S. Stoddard, quoted in Wisdom from a Pastor's Heart, edited by Douglas Connelly

Whoever heard of a suffering God? The idea is plain daft. God is up in heaven, and there he will stay. But wouldn't it be wonderful if it were true? If God came to visit us, like a great king visiting his subjects? Or, even better, if he came among us as one of us, sharing our way of life, with all its tragedy, sorrows and grief?

Alister E. McGrath, What Was God Doing on the Cross?

If we consider how utterly undeserved [the crucifixion] was, we call it grace; if we consider the cost, we call it atonement; if we consider the effect, we call it new life, redemption, sanctification.

Austin Farrer, A Faith of Our Own

The crucified is God's chosen: it is with the victim, the condemned, that God identifies, and it is in the company of the victim, so to speak, that God is to be found, and nowhere else . …Jesus is judge because he is victim; and that very fact means that he is a judge who will not condemn.

Rowan Williams, Resurrection

Even from the cross, when our Lord in his agony found perfection of his saintly humanity—even then he did not own himself a victim of injustice: They know not what they do.

Georges Bernanos, The Diary of a Country Priest

We have become insensitive to the infinite tension which is implied in the words of the Apostles' Creed: "suffered … was crucified, dead, and buried … rose again from the dead." We already know, when we hear the first words, what the ending will be: "rose again," and for many people it is no more than the inevitable "happy ending." … But the answer of Easter had become possible precisely because the Christ has been buried. The new life would not really be new life if it did not come from the complete end of the old life.

Paul Tillich, The Shaking of the Foundations

The many strands of human experience run through the crossroads of the cross.

Paul S. Fiddes, Past Event and Present Salvation

Gracious God, the comfort of all who sorrow,
the strength of all who suffer,
hear the cry of those in misery
   and need.
In their afflictions show them
   your mercy,
and give us, we pray, the strength
   to serve them,
for the sake of him who suffered for us,
your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Book of Common Worship

Related Elsewhere

Also appearing on our site today:

Easter in an Age of TerrorLiving and dying—and living again—after September 11.
Christian History Corner: Easter EloquenceThe holiday has inspired great words from some of history's greatest preachers.

Christianity Today International's Easter page has articles and reflections on the resurrection, the story of Easter, and more.

Last year's Holy Week Reflections looked at The Cross.

Past Reflections columns include:

God's Mission (February 13, 2002)
On Enemies (January 8, 2002)
Life After Christmas (December 26, 2001)
Love & Marriage (November 13, 2001)
The Word of God (October 22, 2001)
Leadership (October 11, 2001)
Suffering (September 13, 2001)
Change (August 14, 2001)
Living Tradition (July 18, 2001)
Sacred Spaces (June 11, 2001)
Friendship (May 17, 2001)

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