Lately I have found myself drawn by crucifixes. I've never been the type to talk sweetly of Jesus and all He did for me. I prefer not to think in detail about His death agonies, and I'm tired of drumming up sticky sadness and slavish gratitude by contemplating my sins that held Him on the cross. If I've heard it once I've heard it a thousand times: The cross shows you how much God loves you. He came to earth, dirtied His hands, suffered and died for you, the human worm, so you could go to heaven when you died.
It doesn't make me feel loved. It makes me feel tolerated, sacrificed for, needed, controlled. Not loved.
But I've been learning a lot about love lately. Real love isn't performance based. People who really love you are just crazy about you, and they don't care if you're Hitler. People who really love you want you to be happy and they want you to love them back, but they don't want to control you or make decisions for you.
When I think about God's love for humanity in this context, I get very strange ideas. I picture the Trinity getting together after the fall of man, figuring out how to save us, and they're all fighting over who gets to go to earth as a person. Under the old paradigm I imagined it as this grave occasion where God picked Jesus and said, "You go," and the Son nodded obediently but sorrowfully, and the Holy Spirit wept softly. But now I imagine them all saying, "Me! Me!" and Jesus saying "YES!" when it winds up being Him. "I get to go to earth and have a body and walk around with all the people we made, and touch them and feed them and hang out!" And God the Father elbows the Holy Spirit and winks, because they both know they'll be present in Christ's body, with us.
So when Christ, at Gethsemane, prayed "Not My will but Yours be done," God replied, "Absolutely. My will is to die for them. Let's get moving." Christ was God and when Christ died, God died. It was His will and He did it.
Lately when I look at a crucifix, I get this weird image of Him smiling, arms thrown wide. He's so happy to die. He's thinking, "Finally, I get to do this really amazing, big thing for the people I made. I'm giving them the most valuable thing in the universe - my life." It's not that He isn't suffering terribly; it's that it means so much to Him to do this for us. He gives with abandon, not begrudgingly.