Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Look up!

Today’s Reading: John 19:36-37 (NIV)

36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”

Zecharaiah 12:10-11a (NIV)

10 And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. 11 On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be great.

Good morning!

I have always been fascinated by the beautiful crosses in many of the churches I’ve visited through the years. At Faith Church, we have a large wooden cross in the front of the sanctuary. At the center of the cross beams is a gold stripping that catches the light and shines brightly, especially when the sun streams through the large plate-glass windows on Sunday morning. When I’m kneeling at the altar, I look up and see Jesus there. The symbol of an unthinkable human act of vicious savagery has become a precious reminder of our perfect Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.

Crosses come in many sizes, shapes and varieties, and each one is beautiful to me. Jewelers manufacture crosses in fine gold, sterling silver, encrusted with tiny diamond chips and fine gems. Some crosses are made of pewter, wood, or steel. I’ve been known to wear a cross fashioned from nails. Occasionally, if I lean a certain way, I feel the tip of nail push against my skin and it is a sharp reminder of the pain Christ endured for my sin.

When the prophet Zechariah wrote these words some 480 years before Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, he had no way of knowing just how important the cross would be to all generations. It is there at the cross, that we find healing and forgiveness for the pain we have caused by our words and actions. It is there we see Christ’s blood flowing down, covering you and me. When the Roman soldier pierced Christ’s body with his sword, he knew Jesus was already dead. Yet, he thrust the sword deep into his side, perforating the sac around Christ’s heart. A mixture of blood and water poured out all at once, drenching the executioner and covering the whole of humanity. I can only imagine what it must have been like to see Christ’s blood flowing down from the cross that day. Can you see what I see?

There are a lot of people weeping and grieving around me. I have a friend who is burying his mother-in-law today, another friend who is frantically looking for work in a job market that is flooded with applicants and no available positions. Children are crying because they are hungry and their mothers and caregivers are weeping because they have no food to feed them. Families are grieving the losses of sons and daughters in wars that seem to go on and on. It’s as if the city of Jerusalem has never stopped weeping, since the day Jesus died on the cross.

Take time today to gaze at the One who was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. We have His hope in the crosses we bear. Jesus died and rose again to give us a brand new life, everlasting life in Him. The things that grieve us so now will fade one day when we meet our Lord face-to-face. Look up at the cross, for our salvation is here.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


© Copyright 2009, Deb Spaulding

All rights reserved

Articles may not be printed in any “for profit” publication without further permission by the author. Articles may be freely distributed via e-mail, reprinted in church bulletins or in other non-profit publications without further permission. Please keep this copyright and Web Site information intact with copied articles. Articles are sent originally to subscribers only. You may have received a forwarded or reprinted copy.

No comments: