My boys all seem to go through obsessions with the crucifixion. I wish I could say it is due to a particular holiness they have, but I’m certain it has more to do with weapons. One particular kid wanted to “play crucifixion” so much that I finally had to put a stop to the game.
I would hear thumping and find my boys crucifying each other in the living room.
Or playing outside I would overhear them talking about nailing Him to the cross. It was always a similar game and my kid was always the soldier. Who always wants to play the guys that execute Jesus???? We tried redirection. We tried talking about Saint Longinus and his holy lance. But nothing we did made his game sound any less terrible.
This chapter of our lives always comes to mind on Passion Sunday and Good Friday, when we in are reading the lines “crucify Him, crucify Him.”
It’s always uncomfortable to say those lines. Part of me bristles at the morbidity and the violence in the statement, and perhaps this is why I dislike my kids playing crucifixion. But mostly I bristle because of the reality of my participation in the event. My sin is responsible for the crucifixion, and by saying this out loud I am confronted with that reality. This is especially hard to hear on Palm Sunday, when mass starts with exultation. How quickly we turn from a worshiping body to a hoard of sinners again.
“Lord, by your cross and resurrection, you have redeemed the world.”
On Good Friday, the reproaches and veneration of the Cross and the reading of the Passion all serve to remind us of the horror of the cross. It was not beautiful; it was a device of torture and execution. The cross is a symbol of Christ’s anguish, but also represents His victory over sin and death. We cling to the cross in the hope of Resurrection.
I’m so thankful that we are an Easter people.
Even though my sin drives a wedge between myself and my God, through Christ’s passion I can experience everlasting life.
Shortly after I put a moratorium on any further role playing of killing Jesus at our house, I overheard one of my sons playing in the backyard: “Let’s play Roman soldiers who killed Je— I mean, let’s play soldiers who killed the dragon who tries to EAT Jesus.” I laughed and decided at that point that at least he is paying attention and I guess a fascination with our Lord’s sacrifice is not wholly a bad thing. Even if there were no dragons on Good Friday.