Thursday, March 10, 2016

Lenten Thoughts

By His Wounds We Were Healed, Anthony R. Falbo, contemporary
There is a strange dichotomy between the Cross of Christ and the cross of Christian culture. We wear it in beautiful chains around our necks--Christ wore it in bloody stakes through His hands and feet. We display it on bumper stickers and posters with pride, but shame consumed the One who hung there for hours. We hold it close and sense heaven--Christ embraced it and encountered hell.

Our sanctuaries display a cleansed version of the Cross--no blood, no struggle, no filth of sin--solely a monument to resurrection power. We celebrate the passion of Christ once a year, but for most of us the journey from Good Friday to Easter is a short one.

Somehow the horror of Jesus- final days eludes us as we bask in the glow of His ascension.

The Crucifixion: 'Behold Thy Mother' c.1805, William Blake

It's almost as if we've gotten beyond the Cross, though surely that has never been our intention. As believers, we want it to be central to our faith, but struggle to find a practical place for it in our lives.

What would it look like if we did? A morbid fascination with grim details? An aura of morose resignation settling in our souls? Sackcloth...ashes...melancholy chants from monotone choirs? Surely not.

But if no greater love has even been seen than when Christ lay his head on the crossbeam at Calvary, we must find a way to be consumed by it. If it took not gold or silver, but precious blood to secure our redemption, we must comprehend the incomprehensible. If God's glory is a jewel hidden in the hollow of the Cross, how can we do anything less than search for it with all our might?

(Reading from "Contemplating the Cross: A Pilgrimage of Prayer" by Tricia McCrary Rhodes)

Crucifixion, 1946, Graham Sutherland
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world has been crucified to me,
and I to the world.
Galatians 6:14

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