From the Cross He Reigns

From Mens Creatrix (1917)

It is out of the uttermost gloom [of “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”] that the light breaks. The light does not merely shine upon the gloom and so dispel it; it is the gloom itself transformed into light. For that same crucifixion of the Lord which was, and forever is, the utmost effort of evil, is itself the means by which God conquers evil and unites us to himself in the redeeming love there manifested. Judas and Caiphas and Pilate have set themselves in their several ways to oppose and to crush the purpose of Christ, and yet despite themselves they became ministers. They sent Christ to the cross; by the cross he completed his atoning work; from the cross he reigns over mankind. God in Christ has not merely defeated evil, but has made it the occasion of his own supreme glory.

Never was conquest so complete; never was triumph so stupendous. The completeness of the victory is due to the completeness of the evil over which it was won. It is the very darkness which enshrouds the cross that makes so glorious that light proceeding from it. Had there been no despair, no sense of desolation and defeat, but merely the onward march of irresistible power to the achievement of its end, evil might have been beaten, but not bound in captivity to love forever. God in Christ endured defeat, and out of the very stuff of defeat he wrought his victory and his achievement.

William Temple (1881-1944) was an English bishop and theologian, and an influential advocate for ecumenism and social reform. He taught at Oxford before serving as a headmaster and a canon of Westminster Abbey, and then was Bishop of Manchester and Archbishop of York, and, finally, Canterbury. Temple is commemorated on November 6 on the liturgical calendars of several Anglican churches.


Online Archives