"God is rest, and where He dwells is stillness."
-Freda Hanbury Allen

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Cross

                        "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,
                       but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."  I Corinthians 1:18

        The Cross. It embodies all that we try to deny and cover up about ourselves: our shame, our woundedness, our pain, our despair, our desperation, our depravity. In and of itself the cross is a horrific representation of all that is wrong with mankind. The violence, indignity, inhumanity, and torture manifest in this object are incomprehensible. In the face of crucifixion there is no achievement, no compensation, no excuse, no cover, no justification, no apparent progress known to man that can mitigate the reality of who we are and what we are capable of as human beings. We are utterly and completely lost.
        The Cross. Foolishness to those who don't want to acknowledge their bottomless need or own their helplessness. Foolishness to the cynics, who believe that nothing in this life is redeemable. Offensive to all who want to save themselves, or worse, believe they don't need saving. Foolishness to those who deny God exists, and to those who create God in their own image.
        The Cross. Only a God of grace could use our sin to bring about our redemption. Only a holy God could take our evil on himself in order to declare us righteous. Only a sovereign, merciful, loving God could take the most depraved means of torture and death and transform it into an eternal means of life and love.
        The Cross. The instrument of the most horrifically loving act the world has ever witnessed. Love stripped, Love beaten, Love mocked, Love spat upon. Love tortured. Love impaled, not just with nails, but the sin of all mankind. Love forgiving the murdering sinners, Love welcoming a soul to paradise, Love providing for his mother. Love abandoned and forsaken by his Father. Love killed by the wrath of God. Love pierced. Love flowing down in blood and water.
        The Cross. Only Christ gives meaning to the cross. It is Christ who surrendered himself to its evil in order to conquer it for all time. It is Christ who took on its shame, in order to free us of ours.  It is his blood, and his blood alone that has forever made the cross a tree of life instead of death. Only Christ.
        The Cross. It embodies all that is profoundly wrong with us, and the ineffable beauty of the One who suffered and died upon its beams. It offers hope, it declares victory, it defines love. It calls forth life from death and joy from sorrow. It draws the humble and repulses the proud. It invites surrender and calls for sacrifice. It beckons all and provides no excuse. It speaks to who we are in ourselves, and who we can become. It truly is the power of God for those who believe.

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