On the Cruciform God thing - here's a brilliant sermon by Darrell Johnson on these same issues. His text is Phil 2:5-11 and his title: "So that's what it means to be God!"
The real realization is not "Oh, Jesus is the god I'd always believed in!" - how's that for fitting the Saviour onto a Procrustean bed! No, the real realization is "Oh, God is nothing like I'd thought - He's who I see in Jesus!"
[I've edited this post from it's original form which was a little specialized and 'try-hard'!]
For a long time I've held a certain verse from John at arm's length:
"The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life." (John 10:17)
I've always held it at arm's length because... well what would it mean to take it with full seriousness?? The Father-Son love in the bond of the Spirit is the divine life. This love is who God is. And the Son says it's founded on the cross!
As 1 John 4 says, "this is love" - the love that God is - "the sending of the Son as an atoning sacrifice". (1 John 4:7-10) Isn't the logic here inescapable? Cruciformity (cross-shaped-ness) is the essence of the divine life. God's very life is laid bare (upheld??) at the cross. It is God glorified in shame and lifted up in ignominy.
Now we can try to be poetic about this, but are we forced to speak simply in terms of contradiction? Is there any way of relating the cry of dereliction (Ps 22:1; Mark 15:34) to the love song of Father-Son communion? Is it right to say "the cry of dereliction is of the essence of the Father-Son communion"? Is it possible to say "the cry of dereliction is of the essence of the Father-Son communion" without simply re-stating it in equally paradoxical terms? Would such a re-statement be, at bottom, a betrayal of the cross?
Probably not your average first post, but there you are. I'll jump right in. Who'll join me?