Cosmic Grace on the Cross
Written by Apwee Ting, Assembly National Consultant
For many years Jesus’ words on the cross in the Gospel of Luke (Lk. 23:34) have been important words for me during Lent, Holy Week, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday.
“Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
There are three important points that I would like to share with you:
First, on the cross, on this very particular Friday, we have been shown the cosmic grace of God expressed through Jesus’ prayer: “Father, forgive them as they do not know what they are doing.”
Jesus prayed for soldiers who crucified him by following the command of their rulers; Jesus also prayed for his disciples and supporters who had followed him this far and knew he was innocent, but chose to remain silent instead of protesting the injustice before their eyes.
On the cross this cosmic grace of God embraced human sin, human frailty, and human ignorance, meeting them instead with love and forgiveness.
On the cross we understand that love has overcome the power of our sin, frailty, and ignorance.
On the cross we understand that forgiveness is the foundation of restored relationship with God and others.
Second, the cross calls us to restore our relationship with God and others, through acknowledgement and truth telling about history.
For many years, Australians have been taught to think our history began at colonisation. For too long, we have neglected to tell the full truth of the history of Australia’s First Peoples, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders: their suffering, the violence inflicted upon them, the injustice of the Stolen Generation, and the ongoing effects of invasion.
Only in the 1967 Referendum did Australians vote to amend the Constitution to recognise First Peoples in our census.
In recent years, churches, community organisations, and governmental bodies, have been working alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to restore and build respectful relationships. But we recognise this journey still has a very long way to go.
Finally, this cosmic grace of God also invites us to expand the margins of our own grace, extending love and forgiveness to those unlike us. As humans we tend to associate, make friends, and relate to those who are like-minded, with the same culture and language.
The cross gives us a different vision. One of communities who live, love and care for one another, regardless of the colour of our skin, cultural background, gender or language.
Jesus’ prayer on the cross is the beginning of a new humanity, hope for a world divided by hatred, ignorance, and injustice.
God bless you all.