When you can't get there from here
One of the great ironies of history is that those who took Jesus to Calvary believed they were forcing him to his dead-end; in reality, Jesus had chosen to go to that place to address the needs of a world which had come to its dead-end. Author Ron Mehl writes about this place in terms of a drive he often takes to the east side of Portland, Oregon, over the Marquam Bridge: "On the upper deck of that two-decker freeway, you can catch a glimpse of an exit that drops off into empty space. When the bridge was built back in the mid-1960s, it was designed to accommodate an east-running freeway [which was to take travelers all the way to the heights of magnificent Mount Hood]." Mehl writes that on a clear day, from the top of that Marquam Bridge, "you can [still] see Mount Hood in all its beauty … symmetrical, snow-capped … glistening like a jewel in the distance. … If you look carefully, you can see how the bridge was [originally] built to accommodate a freeway lane veering off to the southeast … but the freeway was never built … the plans for the highway scrapped." Mehl says you can see where the road was supposed to go. "It juts out just a bit from the bridge structure, then is cut off as though sliced by a giant knife." The entrance ramp "now goes nowhere—except into the [cold] waters of the Willamette [River] far below."
Reaching the dead end
Mehl's description provides a powerful image of where humanity finds itself on Good Friday. For many people God has become something like that mountain in Ron Mehl's story. He is little more than a name on an irrelevant roadside sign they've passed by so often that they hardly notice it or wonder why someone doesn't take it down. For others, ...
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Dan Meyer is pastor of Christ Church of Oak Brook in Oak Brook, Illinois.