In yesterday’s post, I began to describe what it was like to have a cross four feet in front of me during the first Spring chapel service at Asbury Theological Seminary. Later in the service JD Walt led us in a litany that blended the response of the three wise men to King Herod concerning the Messiah, “We have come to worship him” with the “mind of Christ” passage of Philippians 2:5-11 It is one thing to speak a litany in the absence of the cross and another thing to speak it at the foot of one.
Living in the reality of the cross should cause us to ponder what or who we are living for. The poignant quote from Leonard Ravenhill comes to mind, “Is what you are living for worth Christ dying for?” Do we live in a separate reality that is absent of the cross? Why do we think it is easier for us to live under a less offensive symbol? Perhaps, one with pretty colors and shapes that looks more like a corporate icon than a religious symbol? Without a physical cross present in worship, do we not nourish the memory that Christ despised shame on the cross (Hebrews 12:2), bore our sins in his body on the cross (I Pet 2:24), canceled our debt on the cross (Col 2:14), and by his wounds afflicted on the cross we are healed. Are we reminded to carry our own cross and follow Christ (Luke 14:27) or are we allowed to become ashamed of the cross and live as its enemy? Therefore,
“Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 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. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” - Hebrews 12:1-3