Julian DeShazier is senior minister of University Church in Chicago. He performs as J. Kwest, an Emmy-winning hip-hop artist.
Conversion narratives raise a question: Why does it take so much to get there?
Jesus is talking to two different audiences.
On Good Friday we face conflicting urges, on multiple fronts. On the one hand, I don't want to be one of the Christians who Gardner Taylor called "a Resurrection people, but not a Crucifixion people." I don't want to rescue Jesus from the cross--the weekly tendency of many preachers, and I think a poor interpretation of "bringing the good news." It is a reality: Jesus died.
I have a friend who visits his mother's burial site each year on the anniversary of her death. When the day comes, the mood is always solemn and deeply reflective--and tremendously difficult for other people in his life. What they don't know is that this annual ritual is generative, corrective. It helps anchor my friend for the rest of the year. I have another friend who almost never visits his parents' gravesite.