As I toy around with ideas for my next writing project, I tend to start elaborating on some of the concepts running through my mind. Here is one of those “start-up” ramblings.
So often we bypass the Cross in our lives. Sometimes we don’t mean to, sometimes we do. Take for instance, a benign occurrence one day. I received two free devotional booklets from an international publisher of devotionals, the kind they send out in an effort to get pastors to purchase a case of them for their congregations for the days leading up to Easter. A friend of mine was with me when I opened it up, and I offered him one. One was titled after the blessings of the Cross, and the other for blessings for day to day. I honestly don’t know why he chose the latter of the two, but you have to wonder how many decisions we make that avoid the Cross each day.
Here are some of the reasons I believe that we don’t choose the Cross:
- Guilt. We know the Cross brings us to a place of dependence on the work of Christ. It’ll tell us that through Him we are forgiven of our sins, but that means we have to admit that we’re a sinner. And we like to think of ourselves as clean cut, well dressed, Spirit filled, Bible thumping believers out in the world making a difference for God. We don’t like to be reminded that we’re sinners. Maybe that’s why we often want everyone who walks through the doors of our churches to be showered, shaven, hair nicely done, sporting a fine attitude, manners, and a shiny leather-bound Bible.
- Familiarity. Every year we hear about the Cross. Many traditions prepare themselves for Easter for forty days prior. Many of us won’t get up forty minutes early to read our Bibles and pray, much less spend those forty days doing what we say we’re doing. After all, the events of the Cross took place almost two thousand years ago. The facts are there. The Gospels haven’t changed. It’s all the same. So we think we are experts on the Cross and try to move on to something new and better.
- Ignorance. Familiarity leads to ignorance. We don’t know about the real power of the Cross. We don’t how to live in Christ, carrying our own cross. In all truth, it’s not entirely our fault. Generally, pastors don’t preach or teach on the Cross during the rest of the year. Part of that is because pastors experience the same feelings that we talked about earlier: guilt, familiarity… We sing “mighty is the power of the Cross,” but as we do so we either (1) think that we’ve experienced it all in forgiveness, or (2) are confused because we thought the display of power was in the resurrection.
There’s “power in the blood,” sure, but after the sins are washed away, what’s it good for? After Good Friday we jump into Easter Sunday, and we don’t consider that maybe one of the reasons there is a day in between is to help recognize that these are two separate occasions of God’s power.
So far these are some of my thoughts on where to go if I move forward this project. If you’d like to chime in, feel free.