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At choir we have begun practicing the music for holy week. One of the songs we are working on is called “Here on the Cross” and includes the lyrics: Sorrow and gladness meet, evil has met defeat, salvation is complete, here on the cross.”

It strikes me that this is a concise and yet poetic description of what we as followers of Jesus believe about the cross.

As so many things with God, there are layers to the cross. There is sorrow, but also gladness. What looks like defeat is actually triumph and what seems tragic is actually the foundation of our hope.

When I was a kid – probably starting around age 12 – I had a tradition of reading the crucifixion accounts in the Gospels on Good Friday. It always made me weep. As I have grown up, I find that though I still feel deeply the grief of what my sin cost Jesus, I also have a more complicated reaction to the cross.

As the song says, sorrow and gladness meet.