Seven words. For six hours on a Friday two millennia ago, Jesus hung on a cross. Eyewitnesses record seven statements from the lips of Jesus as he died. To speak during crucifixion would be agony on top of agony. Each word meant Jesus lifting himself up, pushing against the nails in his wrists and ankles, to find the breath. Scripture records for us words of Jesus spoken in homes, synagogues, temple courts, mountains, valleys, roads, and seas. But these final words, these cross-shaped words, bring the mysteries of life and death closer than any others. Christians preach Christ crucified. The death and resurrection of Jesus has been – must be – the singular focus of the church. Somehow, in Jesus’ life and death, is the life and death of the whole world. On the cross, is everything we’ve ever feared and everything we’ve ever hoped.