Colossians 1:21-23 – At one time you all had your backs turned to God, thinking rebellious thoughts of him, giving him trouble every chance you got. But now, by giving himself completely at the Cross, actually dying for you, Christ brought you over to God's side and put your lives together, whole and holy in his presence. You don't walk away from a gift like that! You stay grounded and steady in that bond of trust, constantly tuned in to the Message, careful not to be distracted or diverted. There is no other Message — just this one. (MSG)
The picture hangs on my bedroom wall, and its message greets me each morning, but it holds a puzzle: why two crosses? Also, the world behind the crosses is not the earth as we know it today. This framed picture was given to me in 1984 by good friends as I was leaving the city where we lived, to come west. The symbolism is striking. What does it say to me? The two crosses are coming towards me. The one in the forefront is larger and in full sun; the second one is much smaller and in the shadow.
We attended a church centre built by two congregations. Both congregations believe in salvation through the cross of Jesus Christ; it is the other "things" that separate us. Church government and the traditions around Holy Communion and the Eucharist make sharing each other's sacraments difficult. One summer, we held a combined baptism, and it was wonderful. The Spirit of Jesus was strongly felt by the packed congregation.
Now, years later, I gaze at the two crosses coming out from the world, and the message is clear: unless we focus on the cross of Jesus Christ and its meaning in our daily lives, the cross fades into the shadows, and our home in space, this earth, becomes so different that we hardly recognize it.
I am looking at Jesus' cross, and I see Him, our suffering Lord, sacrificing all for our sake. We thought we could go it alone, but life has taught us otherwise. We are bowed low and hurt so much. In a very real sense, if we have ignored Jesus' cross, we carry our own. Our sin mounts up through the years, and the weight of guilt and shame, and, yes, sorrow, becomes insurmountable.
Our suffering can become indescribable, until on our knees, we come to Jesus again and ask Him to carry our burden. Then we see Jesus' cross coming towards us. He is carrying the weight of all of our turmoil. We are overcome as Jesus picks us up and hugs us with love and concern, and our burdens fade away. Hallelujah! Jesus loves me and has always loved me. Why didn't I see it sooner?
Prayer: For far too long, Lord Jesus, Your cross has been in the shadows of our lives. We had heard about it, but now we see its truth. Jesus is real. His cross comes into the brightness of full sunshine, and our lives light up with thankfulness. No longer will we try to carry our burdens all by ourselves. Thank You for coming to each of us and for taking the weight of our sin and sorrow off our backs. Amen.