Seeing the Cross

The whisper of God can come to us in unexpected moments of ordinary living.  That still, small voice that touches the soul with His inaudible breath. I never cease to be amazed by those times.

I had been a buyer for a gift shop and occasionally brought home catalogs to review them in the evening so I could get a head start on the next day’s orders.  I had been doing just that in preparation for Easter and was searching for items that truly represented this most sacred holiday.

Page after page of crosses in every form and style came before my eyes, from decor to jewelry, and so did the awareness that we have done our best to make it beautiful.  Now, to be sure, the cross holds beauty, but only because of the love and redeeming work of Christ on our behalf.  The cross itself was a symbol of suffering and disgrace; a tool of brutal punishment and cruelty.

As I turned the pages, I couldn’t help but wonder if, just maybe, we have polished and adorned it to the point of making it little more than a pretty symbol. I closed the catalog.  It could wait for another day.  A more compelling matter urged me to pen words simply called …

The Cross

In shining gold …
and trimmed with flowers and vine
we view the cross
cleansed of its blood and thus refined.

Though meant for reverence …
this transformed, pristine display,
I wonder if perhaps
it alters how we view the price He paid.

It wasn’t beautiful …
that cross on which my Savior died.
‘Twas roughly hewn;
a grievous weight of sin and wicked pride.

It wasn’t mystical …
this heavy beam of splintered wood,
nor were the nails that pierced
Christ’s hands and feet for mankind’s good.

It wasn’t merciful …
the anguished scene of sacrifice
where, laid on Him,
was every evil thought and human vice.

Yet in His love …
He stayed upon that tree
exchanging life in place of death
and setting sinners free.

And still it stands …
its meaning timeless, true and sure
for Jesus Christ, the son of God,
became the sinner’s cure.

So lift the cross …
whatever style or form it takes,
yet n’er forget the substitutionary love
that chose to take our place.

This Easter may we view the cross of Jesus Christ for what it is.  His sacrifice for our sin.  His mercy for our folly.  His love for our selfishness.   And doing so, may we be willing to take it’s message of hope to a dying world.

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