In current American political discourse the rhetoric of hope, change, peace, and justice is ubiquitous. Of course, the irony of it all is that this source of rhetoric is consistently deployed as a weapon, both rhetorically and physically. The language of hope, justice, and peace is everywhere, but it is always a venture toward victory without loss, hope without suffering. This stands in stark contrast to the politics of the cruciform and grave-shaped Lordship of Jesus. Here again is Alan Lewis,
“Though there is an Easter victory, a fecundity of life in the midst of death which shall redeem and transform history, the only way to that future and to its temporal anticipations here and now passes through barrenness and negativity. God can no more come to the divine tomorrow of consummation and fulfillment than we can to ours, without firs embracing suffering, defeat, and death. More specifically, our non-optimistic hopes of participating in history’s future of justice, peace, and freedom cannot be separated from the imperative upon us, as upon the God of history’s own self, to countenance the varieties and costs of surrender: the pain of giving away, of giving up, of letting go.” (Alan Lewis, Between Cross and Resurrection, 324)
The politics of Christian mission and eschatology cannot support any promises of peace and freedom outside of the openness to surrender, suffering, and cruciformity. Any rhetoric of hope and freedom that eschews the costliness of confession, the pain of discipleship must never be confused with the language of Jerusalem. For those of us that name the name of Christ there can be no rhetoric of resurrection that is not underwritten by the practice of the cross.