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"It Is Finished": State Violence, Religious Complicity, and Salvation Accomplished For and Against Us

Sermon for Tre Ore
The Sixth Word from the Cross
Luther Memorial Church, Madison, WI
Good Friday afternoon, March 30, 2018

John 19:30

"Then, when he received the sour wine, Jesus said, 'It is finished.' And lowering his head, he yielded up the Spirit."


There are lots of ways that the gospels, as stories, convey the message "we've done our part, now it's up to you," from the authors and their communities down to the audiences of any later time. But not here. Not today, not in this moment. "It is finished." And perfectly so! A thing that was never our work, never our responsibility, a thing God does for us, has been completed right here, in this moment, today, and every time this story is read. "It is finished."

But it's an odd thing to say, for a man being put to death. It's an odd thing to say, for a man in his 30s whose life is being cut off by state action. In every way we could possibly make it, this story is an eschato…

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