My Song is Love Unknown (ELW 343, verse 4)
4 We cry out; we will have
our dear Lord made away,
a murderer to save,
the prince of life to slay.
Yet cheerful he to suff’ring goes
that he his foes from thence might free.
Was Jesus cheerful as he went to the cross? The writer of our theme hymn for Lent seems to think so. To me, cheerfulness conjures up the image of my two-year-old niece as she’s playing with her dolls—full of smiles and giggles. The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines cheerful as “happy, and showing it by the way you behave.” While I’m not sure any of the gospels depict Jesus as “happy” in the face of the cross, I think Jesus does show this emotion by the way he behaved. I do believe he knew how much all his suffering and death would mean for the world that he loved so much. As Jesus reminds us in the Gospel of John during his conversation with Nicodemus, God sent God’s only Son to the cross out of deep love, so that all who believe in him might have life.
Jesus, we are stunned by the brutal suffering and death that you endured for us. During this Lenten season, help us to see all the ways that you have come down to us in love, that we might share this abundant love with all those around us. Amen.