Friday, April 2, 2010

Consider the Cross



Tonight I took part in a Good Friday service which was a joint venture between three area churches.
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Our church features a wooden cross hung on the wall directly behind the pulpit. On Ash Wednesday, the cross was draped with purple, today it was changed to black and Sunday it will be covered in victorious white. I imagine our church is not uncommon in this observation.
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As we prepared to go to this evening's service, I thought about the cross. A lot. Growing up, I always felt confused about Easter. Christmas was easy to revel in. Babies are blessings. Baby Jesus brought such joy to the world, God sent His son to save us from our sins! Rejoicing at Christmas seemed natural. Easter, for me at least, was harder. I remember, as a child, sitting in a service at Easter, and hearing the crucifixion account described very graphically. I was horrified. Somehow, up until that point, I had managed to trick myself into believing that Jesus, being the Son of God, was somehow exempt from feeling pain and suffering. That delusion ended dramatically that day.
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For a very long time after that particular service, I alternated between feeling overwhelming guilt and shame when I thought about the cross or trying very hard to avoid dwelling on the subject altogether. I'm not proud of the way I felt, but I'm just being real. The guilt was terrible. I felt so ashamed of the fact my Savior had to go through such a horrible death for little, insignificant me, who despite all He did for me, still couldn't get her act together. Completely missing the fact, by the way, that there was nothing I could ever do to earn what Jesus did for me that day on Calvary. I got that He loved me, I was just missing the fact that He LOVES me!
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It took time for me to grasp the fact that what He did for us was a gift. Gifts aren't earned - they are given. This gift wasn't given begrudgingly, or with strings attached. This gift was given with great love and unmeasurable grace.
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Think of it this way. If I scraped together every available resource I had to buy someone I love a gift, would I want them to feel guilty every time they looked at it? No. Would I want them to feel unworthy? No. Would I want them to avoid the gift every time they thought about it? NO!
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I would want them to take joy it that gift. I would want them cling to that gift. I would want them to think of my love for them every time they saw it, thought about it or used it. And if I, flawed as I am, feel that way, how much more so must Jesus feel that way about us?
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I hope, as Easter quickly approaches, you take some time to consider His gift to us that day long ago on the cross.

1 comment:

e-Mom said...

I like your perspective...

Think of it this way. If I scraped together every available resource I had to buy someone I love a gift, would I want them to feel guilty every time they looked at it? No. Would I want them to feel unworthy? No. Would I want them to avoid the gift every time they thought about it? NO!

Someone else in my Bible study shared similar thoughts, and you both made me think.

For me, I feel gratitude and joy in receiving the gift of salvation. At the same time, I'm aware that it was a very costly, expensive gift. For me, that's the connection between Jesus' suffering and his joy in giving. It cost him much, and he wants me to understand it's priceless value. And I do! But I don't feel guilty. After all, it was HIS choice to give the gift. What a Saviour!

Have a blessed Easter, April. (And enjoy your youth group meeting.)

(((Hugs)))