At the heart of Christianity is a question. Religious leaders, political institutions, and crowds of ordinary citizens have nailed an innocent man to a board and left him there to die. How do you respond? The twelve disciples’ first response was to run away in terror and hide. But over time, Christians have come to understand the original symbol of fear and oppression, the crucifix, as a symbol of hope and even love. The Lutheran tradition of Christianity holds that God is most clearly revealed in Christ’s suffering on the cross. And so the God we know is a God who is present with those who suffer and shares their pain. The God we know is a God who loves the outcast and wears the face of the oppressed. At our best, Lutherans respond to the cross by sharing love in a broken world. Jesus no longer hangs on the cross, but every day, countless crucifixions still occur. And so we have invited artists from a variety of backgrounds to help see where God is nailed on a board today. Tonight, you will behold the wounds of our planet, you will see human flesh (real and imaginary) sacrificed for entertainment, you will witness self-hatred and depression, you will see people condemned for their race, their gender, and for the people whom they love. You may see yourself on the cross tonight, and you may see yourself swinging the hammer. But more than anything, I hope you see the face God. And remember, the cross is not the end; it is the question that starts the story.
(Other high schoolers contributed work connected to gun violence)
(The bell tower serves its usual role as a hotbed of discussion for artists)
(Throughout the evening we had live American scripturally-inspired folk music by Spark and Echo and Kirsten Leigh, classical Spanish guitar and harp by Silvio Solis and Mario Iglesias, and a interactive performance/conversation by Caroline Rothstein about the very Lutheran concepts of Law (that which reveals our brokenness) and Gospel (the promise of God’s unconditional love).