Christianity is not a tchotchke that is placed on a shelf in your house where it collects dust. Chrisitanity is more than a decoration. We carry our Christianity with us. It has utility. We use it to mitigate the harshness of our passage through the valley of tears.

So much time had elapsed since Adam and Eve lived with God in paradise that the memory of paradise had faded from the minds of the children of Adam and Eve. So the most Holy Trinity decided that the time was ripe to remind us of the sweetness of paradise. Therefore, the most Holy Trinity sent us a love note. Imagine that! A love note from God to us. It was delivered to us at Bethlehem. It was a most unusual love note. The word of God was not written on dead paper. The word of God was written on life itself. The love note lived and breathed. It was written in the form of a baby born in the most humble of circumstances in the boondocks of time and space. It was inconspicuous, anonymous and remote. By all measures, it ought to have disappeared into the dustbin of history. But it did not. The love note changed the world. What type of literature is the word of God? The word of God is a love note.

The Good News of Great Joy is that Jesus transported from heaven to earth the solution to the problem of suffering and demonstrated that the solution works by using it himself as he passed through the valley of tears.

The Good News of Great Joy is that love kicks suffering's ass.

When you Hang as Jesus Hung, Cling as Jesus Clung, and Love as Jesus Loved

The Good News of Great Joy with Regard to Suffering

The good news of great joy is that the sighs, mourning and weeping  generated by our harsh passage through the valley of tears left our lips, reached God's ear and broke God's heart. In the fullness of time, the most Holy Trinity dispatched the Son of God on a mission of mercy to humanity. Jesus transported from heaven to earth a solution to the problem of suffering and demonstrated that the solution works by using it himself. The most Holy Trinity hoped that a successful demonstration of the solution to the problem of suffering by the Son of God himself would inspire us to follow him, adopt the solution and use it ourselves as we pass through the valley of tears. The solution teaches us to apply love to suffering Love is the grease that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears. Without love, our crosses bog us down impeding our progress to paradise. Love transforms us into superman with the ability to pick up (Matthew 16:24) and carry our crosses so we can continue our journey back home to paradise. Jesus hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from ours. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung to the life preserver of love with the iron grip of a drowning man tossed overboard into a stormy sea after his ship is sunk. He did not surrender to suffering. He resisted it. He resisted suffering by clinging to love.  By hanging from the Cross, Jesus is not inviting us to unite our suffering with his suffering. Jesus is not a sadist. He does not want us to suffer. He is not diabolical like the serpent. The diabolical serpent wants us to suffer - not Jesus. Jesus is a philanthropist. Jesus is inviting us to unite our love with his love. Therefore, when we hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung and love as Jesus loved. Fight the tyrant within us who is trying to empty our hearts of love. Love is the solution that mitigates the harshness of our passage through the valley of tears. 

When you Hang as Jesus hung,
cling as Jesus clung,
love as Jesus loved.
Hold tight and refuse to let go
of love, suffering's invincible foe.


Love kicks suffering's ass.

The most Holy Trinity desired to reaquaint the children of Adam and Eve with the sweetness of paradise. To get the job done, they did not dispatch their subordinates. They did not send their flunkies. They did the job themselves. They dispatched the Son of God to engage in the greatest conversation that ever took place between God and humanity - the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. One of the byproducts of the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection was the good news of great joy with regard to suffering. The byproduct was a lesson in how to mitigate the harshness of our passage through the valley of tears. He transported from heaven to earth a solution to the problem of suffering. His job was not just to transport the solution. His job was not just to explain the solution to us in the safe, out-of-harm's-way setting of the classroom. The job delegated to the Son of God was to field test the solution to the problem of suffering by using it himself as he passed through the valley of tears. He would be grist ground up in the mill. The hope of the most Holy Trinity was that an actual demonstration by the Son of God himself in the valley of tears would convince us of the value of the solution to the problem of suffering - that love is the grease that lubricates the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears. Convinced, we would adopt the solution ourselves and use it as we pass through the valley of tears. Are you convinced? Are the wheels of your passage through the valley of tears in need of grease?

When you Hang as Jesus hung,
cling as Jesus clung,
love as Jesus loved.
Hold tight and refuse to let go
of love, suffering's invincible foe.


Love kicks suffering's ass.

Our passage through the valley of tears is not easy. The valley of tears sucks. Our predicament in the valley of tears is dire. The Son of God intruded into human history to rescue us from our dire predicament in the valley of tears. He did not come to make our passage through the valley of tears harder. He came to make our passage through the valley of tears easier. As he hung from the Cross, he taught us that our passage through the valley of tears becomes easier when we cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go. Love is the grease for the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears. Love turns us into superman able to pick up and carry our crosses through the valley of tears so we can continue to make progress toward paradise. Without love in our hearts, our crosses crush us under their oppressive weight. By clinging to love, holding tight and refusing to let go, we maintain the resemblance we bear to God. We decline to allow suffering to transmogrify us into the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts. Jesus brought the technology of applying love to suffering from heaven to earth when he paid us a visit. To show us that it works, he used the technology himself as he hung from the Cross. The technology of applying love to suffering is the good news of great joy with regard to suffering. He also transported from heaven to earth good news of great joy with regard to death and sin. But that is another story. Therefore, when you hang as Jesus hung, cling as Jesus clung, love as Jesus loved, hold tight and refuse to let go of love, suffering's invincible foe.

Mitigation: The Gift of the Technology of Applying Love to Suffering The most Holy Trinity dispatched the Son of God on a two-part mission. Here are the mission's instructions: Transport from heaven to earth the technology of applying love to suffering and Demonstrate that the technology works by using it yourself as you hang from a Cross.           Why? Because love kicks sufferings ass. Love is suffering's invincible foe. As we pass through the valley of tears, the struggle that matters is the struggle between love and suffering. Suffering is persistently trying to empty our hearts of love. When we resist - when we cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go, we are victorious. Only when we let suffering empty our hearts of love are we defeated. Clinging to love, holding tight and refusing to let go mitigates the friction we experience during our passage through the valley of tears. Love greases the wheels. With love, we can pick up our crosses and carry them.  Without love, our crosses crush us under their weight. With love, we maintain the resemblance we bear to God  (Genesis 1:27). Without love, suffering transmogrifies us into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. We resist suffering by loving our way through it. Jesus refused to let suffering extinguish the bonfire of love that burns for us in his most sacred heart or reduce it by even the slightest degree.            The hope of the most Holy Trinity was that a successful demonstration of the technology by none other than the Son of God himself would inspire us to use the technology ourselves as we pass through the valley of tears.  He hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from ours.  For your own sake, follow him.  Resist suffering with love. The only way to unite your suffering with the suffering of Jesus is to resist suffering with love.

Maintaining the Resemblance We Bear To God

During our passage through the valley of tears, we encounter adversity and prosperity. Life is a rollercoaster of ups and downs, successes and failures. Maintaining our resemblance to God is the challenge of life. The circumstances through which we pass do not matter a whit. The only thing that matters is maintaining our resemblance to God. The greater the love we bear in our hearts, the greater the resemblance we bear to God . Parents, teach your children to love . Warn them that the viscissitudes of life will try to transmogrify them into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. Tell them to resist. We succeed in life when we cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go. We fail, when we let love slip through our fingers - when we fumble the ball.

P.S. What is the difference between God and the serpent? God is power with love. The serpent is power without love. Power without love is diabolical. Power with love is divine. As we pass through the valley of tears, we can maintain the resemblance we bear to God by clinging to love, holding tight and refusing to let go. Alternatively, we can let our passage through the valley of tears transmogrify us into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. As we pass through the valley of tears, we can resemble God or the serpent. This is our choice. This is the great choice that faces us as we pass through the valley of tears. This is the only thing that matters.

Our suffering is magnified when we try to pick up and carry our crosses without love.  Love is our dearest companion in times of suffering. When love is our companion as we pass through suffering, we endure. When we try to pass through suffering without love, we perish.  In short, love kicks suffering's ass. In the valley of tears, we get opportunity after opportunity to put the technology  of applying love to suffering into practice.  Practice makes us perfect.

Lightening the Load

Love makes our crosses lighter. Love gives our crosses wings. "If a person bears great love in himself, this love gives him wings, as it were, and he can face all life’s troubles more easily because he carries in himself this great light; this is faith: being loved by God and letting oneself be loved by God in Jesus Christ. Letting oneself be loved in this way is the light that helps us to bear our daily burden." .

Superman

Love transforms us into superman. It enables us to deny ourselves, to pick up and to carry our crosses as we pass through the valley of tears . With love, crosses do not crush us under their oppresive weight. With love, we can continue to make our way through the valley of tears to paradise.

Rock beats scissors; scissors beats paper; paper beats rock. And love beats suffering.

Denying Ourselves

A natural, human tendency gives us instructions that are contrary to our self-interest. It steers us in the wrong direction. It instructs us to let love slip through our fingers when crosses of suffering torment us. We must deny ourselves. We must cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go. Jesus denied himself on the Cross. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. Follow him. Resist suffering with love. Cling as Jesus clung.

Our Passage Through the Valley of Tears

Who do you want with you during your passage through the valley of tears? Who do you want as your companions? Who do you want by your side? Love is our dearest companion as we pass through the valley of tears. As we pass through the valley of tears, we cannot escape the war between suffering and love. All of us our combatants. There is no sanctuary into which we can duck to hide from it. Suffering tries to transmogrify us into the most hideous and miserable of loveless beasts. We try to maintain the resemblance that we bear to God. We lose the war when we let suffering empty our hearts of love. We win the war when we cling to love, hold tight and refuse to let go. Therefore, when you find yourself in the middle of suffering, surround yourself with people who do love and receive love. You yourself partake in the doing and receiving of love. Fill the space you occupy with love. Why? By doing love and by receiving love, we pull paradise down from heaven upon our heads here on earth as a fireman with a hook pulls down a ceiling. Love is the signal that summons God into our midst. What blood in the water is to sharks, love is to God. God makes a rapid beeline to love. God runs surely and swiftly to promote, to protect and to propagate love on earth as it is in heaven. The economy of paradise is based on the currency of love. The currency of love is different than ordinary currency. With ordinary currency, the more we spend, the poorer we grow. It is a paradox, but, we grow rich by spending the currency of love. The more we spend, the richer we get . Furthermore, Shakespeare understood this insight - the mutual benefit of love - and articulated it with mighty words. Love is twice blest . "It blesseth him that gives and him that takes." Both the recipient and the donor enjoy the blessings of love. Jesus did not teach us to love our enemies just to benefit them. Jesus taught us to love our enemies because doing so benefits ourselves. Love is its own reward . We love because loving is the rational thing to do. It is contrary to our self-interest to do otherwise. It is crazy to do otherwise. However, the monster within us called “self” casts an illusion that hides from us the mutual benefits of love. That is why Jesus taught us that we must deny ourselves, reject "self" and see through the illusion to the reality it hides. In love we thrive. Without love we wither. Our success in life is measured by the yardstick of love.

Resistance

Resist suffering with love.

Did the Son of God Come Empty-handed? Did the Son of God come empty-handed? Did he bring nothing with him for us to mitigate the harshness of our passage through the valley of tears? Did not our sighs, mourning and weeping leave our lips, reach his ear and break his heart? Did he ignore our dire predicament in the valley of tears? Our God with the bloody wounds is not a tight-fisted, parsimonious, empty-handed God. When he paid us a visit, he transported from heaven to earth technology that mitigates the harshness of our passage through the valley of tears. The technology teaches us to apply love to suffering. He  demonstrated that the technology works by using it himself. It is field-tested technology.  We can trust in the technology because the Son of God himself demonstrated to us that it works. His successful demonstration of the technology ought to inspire confidence in it. His successful demonstration of the technology is the reason for us to adopt the technology ourselves and use it to grease the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears.

Love is the Key to the Door of the Kingdom of God

The kingdom of God is at hand. Love is the key to the door of the kingdom of God. We love our way into the kingdom of God.

The Solution to the Problem of Suffering

The Son of God transported from heaven to earth good news of great joy for sufferers. It is incredibly good news for sufferers. It is an understatement to say that our passage through the valley of tears is not easy. As we pass through it, crosses of suffering torment us. The good news of great joy, however, is not that God plans to extricate us immediately from our dire predicament in the valley of tears. God still expects us to run the course, finish the race and complete a lifetime in the valley of tears . The good news of great joy is not that God plans to transform the valley of tears into a better, more hospitable place for godless people to live. God plans to transform godless people not the valley of tears in which we live. Our sighs, mourning and weeping left our lips, reached God's ear and broke God's heart. As a result of a broken heart, the most Holy Trinity dispatched the Son of God on a mission to mitigate the harshness of our passage through the valley of tears. The mission of the Son of God to us was two-fold: 1) to transport from heaven to earth a solution to the problem of suffering and 2) to demonstrate that the solution works by using it himself. In the process of demonstrating the solution to the problem of suffering, Jesus revealed to us the true identity of God. The solution teaches us not to surrender to suffering but to resist suffering with love. The Son of God hung from his Cross to teach us how to hang from our crosses. He clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung with the iron grip of the drowning man tossed overboard into the stormy sea after his ship is sunk. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. The successful demonstration of love surviving suffering suggests that we, too, can step up to the challenges that confront us as we pass through the valley of tears. Love and only love enables us to step up and become heroes who can pick up and carry our crosses. Jesus is teaching us by hanging from the Cross that we win when we love our way through suffering. We lose when suffering empties our hearts of love. Parents, teach your children to be winners. Teach them to fill the space they occupy with love.

Jesus is our knight in shining armor. He vanquished the monster who dwells amid suffering that tried to empty his heart of love for us. He slew the dragon that tried to transmogrify him into the most miserable and hideous of loveless beasts. As we tortured and killed him, he clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. In doing so, he showed us how to mitigate the harshness of our passage through the valley of tears. To follow him, we, too, must deny ourselves . We, too, must vanquish the monster and slay the dragon. When we hang as Jesus hung, we, too, must cling as Jesus clung, love as Jesus loved, hold tight and refuse to let go of love, suffering's invincible foe. Why? Because love kicks suffering's ass.

The good news of great joy with regard to suffering is that the Son of God transported from heaven to earth "grease" to lubricate the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears and he demonstrated that the "grease" works by using it himself as we tortured and killed him. He field tested the technology of applying love to suffering. Remarkably, he gave us this gift - this beautiful and beneficial praxis - while we were still sinners - when we did not deserve it . He gave what was holy to dogs and threw pearls before swine because he is head over heels in love with us. The Son of God freely and willingly took part in the conversation between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection despite the exorbitant cost of its production not to make our passage through the valley of tears harder but to make it easier. It gets easier when we use the "grease" - when we love our way through suffering. Love ameliorates the harshness of our passage through the valley of tears.