Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Common Cross

I have a rocking chair in my living room. It's an odd color green, very worn, and sits very low to the ground. In fact there's almost no padding left in the cushion. But, if Little Bit starts getting too rough on this chair I lose my mind. Because this chair, means the world to me.

It belonged to my Mimi. There's pictures of her rocking me in it. Over the years I've rocked cousins in it. And once my son was born, we spent so many hours in that chair. The warm and fuzzies I get from knowing the history of this chair are unexplainable.

I feel certain we all have something like that. Maybe it's priceless China. Or a book from a loved one. Or a blanket so disheveled it could fall apart if you even look at it wrong (my husband's green blanket is a perfect example). We hold these artifacts close to our hearts. We get upset when someone says something bad, we keep them in plain sight and love to talk to people about the history and meaning of these things.

We do everything we can to keep these items from becoming commonplace. Pass down the meaning from generation to generation. Holding items in high esteem and treating them that way even if they cost nothing to us. We never want to lose how important these things are to us.

However, how many of us treat the Cross of Christ like this? If you belive that Jesus Christ died on the cross to save us from an eternity separated from God, then the cross should be revered. But so often we see it hanging on walls with cute sayings, often times it's in a stain glass window at church, or something that rises out of a tragedy that people cling to. Such as the cross at Ground Zero at 9/11.

I'm so guilty of this mentality. I collect crosses. I couldn't tell you how many times walking through Hobby Lobby or a flea market I've stopped and said, "how cute is that cross". Now, I'm not saying that having crosses around your home is wrong. Or that you should immediately take them all down. I honestly, love that my crosses have verses and hymns to remind me through out the day where my focus should be. However this opens us up to being desensitized. Allowing the cross to just become a symbol that decorates our home; not a statement that saves our souls.

The truth is, the cross was brutal. Christ who was already weak and beaten had to carry His cross up to Golgatha to be killed. They took what was already a brutal death and intensified it by nailing Him instead of tying Him to the cross. He was mocked,  ridiculed, all the while with a crown of thorns around His brow. Not gingerly placed there, but pressed and pushed into His head so that he bled. His side was pierced while people sat and gambled for His robe.

Physically,  I can't even imagine how painful this would be. I can't even begin to comprehend the torture or exhaustion. But even worse than that. The emotional pain. Not just from the people mocking him. But because He was forced to take on every sin that had been committed and every sin that would be committed. As a result of that, God could not look upon Jesus. Christ since the beginning of time has been in the presence of God the Father, but at that moment that he took on your sins, God had to abandon Him because of His holiness.

2 Corinthians 5:21 says Christ was sinless, but He became sin so we could have eternal life. He basically became sin so he could defeat sin. I think often times we hear the story so frequently we forget the brutality of it. We forget to acknowledge the amazing grace that the cross brings to us. We gloss over so many details.

The truth is, the cross bridged a gap for us. Kept us out of hell. The cross of Christ keeps us from having to sacrifice constantly because we will never be good enough for heaven. We can stop keeping score of all the wrong things verses right things. We can never be good enough to win heaven. But that's okay. The cross did it for us!!

The reality of the cross can be so easily overlooked. I pray that for you, it never becomes commonplace, though. That you are constantly amazed by its power. That hearing The Old Rugged Cross will bring tears to your eyes!! That the cross would be anything but common in your life.