We have a decorative cross collection in our master bedroom. I purchased a few of the crosses but most have been gifts from different people in our lives. We recently hung them up in the new house. I think it looks pretty good!
I was looking up at them this morning. Thinking about the cross, while songs from the Easter drama ran through my head. One in particular written by Shoreline's own Skip Downey...Oh how beautiful the cross. Beautiful. It is simply beautiful, isn't it? It has so much meaning to us. Loaded with love and hope and redemption.
The cross is a symbol of our redemption. And even as a symbol it has been redeemed. To be hung on a tree was to be cursed. I doubt there were any cross collections decorating homes in Jesus' day. It symbolized death, oppression and the shame and guilt of capital offense (see Deut 21).
One of the repeated phrases in our lenten readings is "You made the cross of tree of life" God redeeming, transforming this symbol just as He redeems and transforms our lives!
Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from that self-defeating, cursed life by absorbing it completely into himself. Do you remember the Scripture that says, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree"? That is what happened when Jesus was nailed to the cross: He became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse. And now, because of that, the air is cleared and we can see that Abraham's blessing is present and available for non-Jews, too. We are all able to receive God's life, his Spirit, in and with us by believing—just the way Abraham received it.
1 Peter 2:21 This is the kind of life you've been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step. He never did one thing wrong, Not once said anything amiss. They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right. He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you're named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.
Heb 12: 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
And today, I say with Paul:
Galatians 6:14 For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate. Can't you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do—submit to circumcision, reject circumcision. It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life! All who walk by this standard are the true Israel of God—his chosen people. Peace and mercy on them!