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Cross Here

When you can't get there from here

Introduction

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.

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