We seem to have limped our way through Lent with snowstorm pummeling us every Wednesday. We have had to cancel three of our services because of the weather. But still we march on toward Good Friday with the focus on the cross of Jesus. The whole concept of the cross as an instrument of torture and crucifixion is just awful. We don’t like to think about it, much less view it. I have avoided watching movies that portray Christ’s death because I can’t bear to see them. Even hymns about the blood seem strange. “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Emmanuel’s veins” makes me shutter. “Power in the Blood” seems a bit better, but even so it’s hard to fathom.
We would rather see the cross as a bright, shiny thing. Maybe like a lovely gold necklace. I have a number of beautiful crosses that I have collected over the years. I enjoy wearing them and rarely think of them as a negative thing. I remember that in the Alpha class Nicky Gumble discussed the wearing of crosses. He said it was like having a charm of an electric chair hanging around your neck. I had never thought of it that way and quickly dismissed it because of the beautiful crosses I have. Yet it did make me think of the real purpose of the cross.
I recently took a special cross out of my jewelry box to wear. It is a silver cross that my husband once gave me as a gift. I noticed that there was some dirt on it. Perhaps I had spilled food on the it the last time I wore it, but it was covered in with some dark. ugly, sticky something. As I started to clean it, I realized that it probably represented the true cross of Christ which was covered with our sins. I was able to easily clean my silver cross, but it took the death of my savior to clean the sin from my heart and life. At that point another hymn came to mind: “In the cross of Christ I Glory.”
Thank you, Jesus, for going to the cross for me. Thank you for loving me enough to die in my place.
Nell Hevelone, Director of Christian Education