Deep in Lent, the bottom of the trough of the wave, and maybe now, I’m just slightly on the upswing curve, since we’ve passed the halfway mark. The thing is Lent’s upswing curve doesn’t really come until after Good Friday, about midway throught the Easter Vigil, and then it’s a fast rising curve upward, like an arrow shot into the sky.
This season, I’ve been reading Trauma and Grace, by Serene Jones, and The Promise of Despair by Andrew Root, not to mention bits from Luther, Forde, and Bonhoeffer, and other hard-core theologians of the cross. Both Jones and Root explore suffering with the rigorous dedication of scholars, but also with the rigorous hope of resurrection life. These are both worth reading, and spending time with, in pondering the cross. Root speaks of “the way of the cross as the way of the church”: “The church has no power in itself to bring forth possibility (it is God who brings forth possibility); the church has only the call to enter despair with the promise that in so doing it will encounter the living crucified God who, through God’s own beaten body, is working life and possibility out of death” (77). Bracing, reality-based reading. Not for the optimist, but for the disciple.