They say the world is round. But I think it has sharp edges.
I walk out of my door and I see new life bursting forth in glorious array, dogwoods and birds, tulips and caterpillars. All of creation sings of his glory.
But through another door in another part of the world is a baby girl in an airport terminal, bloodied, crying over her mama. (Video here; hard to watch but this is the world we live in.) There’s evil and death and crying and pain. Broken mamas and crying daughters and dads looking for their sons because the world has sharp edges.
So I walk down my street and listen to the birds and see the new life all around and my heart cannot contain the sharpness, the disorientating reality of evil and death mixed with beauty and life. It is too much. It is the contrast that is too vast to contain for my mind, too much to make sense of in my soul. It is so heavy.
Today is the day the church remembers the Last Supper, the last time Jesus gathered his friends together and told him the things He most wanted them to remember, knowing they would all hit the edge of their world in the coming hours, careening off as they watched Him, the one for whom punishment had no place, the only person to ever walk the earth completely free of the weight of sin on himself–that man would walk into betrayal, evil, darkness and death. The sharpest edge was coming.
And sometimes when I teach about Jesus and the new commandment, where he says “love one another”, it sounds so trite and preachy. Like we all know we should love one another. But when I consider the sharp edges, the ones of terrorist attacks, the contrast between Easter bunnies and egg hunts and babies crying over mamas and young sons who think life is found behind an evil ideology, my heart cannot contain it.
But “love one another” were the words he gave on that night as he sat with his friends and ate, the night he served them bread and washed their feet, a night of leading and serving, a night of loyalty and betrayal. A night of love declared and then denied. Jesus served with his actions, a precursor of what was to come when he would serve the whole world on the cross. “Love one another” wasn’t given in a trite setting. It was given into a thin place of evil and holy, of light and dark. But my heart still doesn’t understand.
And I know Jesus knows that. He knows the world has sharp edges when he says “love one another.” He knows that love means letting our hearts break for the world, for the ones who are subject to evil and the ones who perpetrate it, for the mix of sunny days and broken people, for the days when we careen right off the sharp edges of the world and think we can never find our way back.
And into that place, Jesus says, watch me. Watch me walk into the darkest places of this world and of the human heart. Watch me take on the beating fists and the mocking voices and soldiers who think they are doing their jobs when they crucify me and leaders who think they are preserving the status quo and demons who think evil just won and watch me take on the worst of everything that can ever be. Watch me bear upon my shoulders the punishment of this world and careen off the edge into a dark tomb with it all.
And just when it seems all hope is lost, watch me conquer death. Watch me beat back evil and watch me overcome. Watch me give you new life no matter what sharp edge you find yourself on.
What Jesus Christ did on the cross means that He has the final word on everything. On all of it—the beauty and the brutal, the light and the dark. On the contrasts that are too big and too hard to make sense. Death is not the end. Evil will not win. He will come again and make it right, and until that day, our souls have a home and a resting place in Him because He let us watch and know that there is nothing bigger, stronger or more beautiful than His love.
He knows the sharp edges of this world and the beauty of eternity. So when he says, “love each other” he says it with tears, and with passion, and with love. That love took him to the cross to make sure that we don’t have to lose our lives on the sharp edges. That love walks into the dark and to the evil and promises that this is not our end.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his One and Only son, that whoever should believe in Him would not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:16-17
Jesus’ words for the weary, the ones who are wounded on the sharp edges:
“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” –Matthew 11:28
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and he with me.” Rev 3:21