“The Father turns His face away. . .”, goes the song. How comforting, then, to read in the 21st Psalm (22nd in the Protestant Bible):
Nor has He turned away His face from me; And when I cried out to Him, He heard me.
Which reminds us that Christ on the cross, while fully man and therefore fully empathetic with the alienation of man from God, was — and ever will be — fully God, and thus incapable of alienation from the Father. It was not only, in other words, a perfect man dying on the cross for the salvation of mankind, but God Himself on that cross, stretched from torn human limbs not for self-amusement nor to satisfy some heavenly bloodlust, but out of love — deep, abiding love, love yet so alien to man that we insist on making it secondary to medieval notions of penal justice — or worse still, abstract it altogether into God’s love for Himself.
How deep the Father’s love for us indeed, that it will be bound neither by the actions nor the theologies of men. Justice was indeed served on the cross, but man, on that day, was liberated not from an angry God, but from sin and death. And this is why we eagerly await the celebration of His resurrection, and more eagerly still the life to come.