As some of you know, I’m rereading Jürgen Moltmann’s writings in preparation for a course I will be teaching in South Africa. Holy Week is a good time to meditate on his classic book The Crucified God. In the book, Moltmann reflects on Jesus’ cry of dereliction, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” and sees the Triune God’s identification with the godless and the godforsaken in the depths of their abandonment. The God we see on the cross is the Crucified God.
Jon Sobrino tells a powerful story about a copy of The Crucified God being found in the blood of one of his martyred colleagues in San Salvador. He writes, “On November 16, 1989, in San Salvador, in the courtyard of our house, six Jesuits – all members of my community – along with two women who worked with us, Julia Elba and Celina, were murdered. I was in Thailand giving a course in Christology, and so did not meet the same fate. Now, it happened that, after the murders, those who committed them dragged the corpse of one of the six victims, Juan Ramon Moreno, back into our house. And in the bumping and pushing, there fell from the bookcase a book – one book – that would lie there covered in blood. That book was Jürgen Moltmann’s El Dios crucificado – ‘The Crucified God.’ Some years later, in 1994, Moltmann himself passed through El Salvador to see the place where the Jesuits had been murdered and lay buried. He had not come to teach; instead he spent a long while in silence, meditating in the courtyard and in the chapel.”
Sobrino reflects on Moltmann’s insight: “in concrete historical crucifixion is ultimacy and in that ultimacy, very God.”