the cross re-dux

kathyescobar advent & lent, jesus is cool, spiritual formation 14 Comments

the cross
*i wrote this post last easter.  really, i think i’d probably just write the same one again. it’s been a wild week here, friends hurting & hospitalized & all kinds of other nuttiness that keeps bringing me back to reality.  to the here and now.  to the preciousness of life.  for my desperate need for hope.  for a thankfulness that good friday is not the end of the story.

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to me, holy week is about downward mobility as a path to life.    Jesus, the promised messiah, rides into Jerusalem a hero and goes out on a cross next to two criminals.  he washes his followers feet.  he’s flat on his face crying out for mercy just like the rest of us.  he takes the path of most resistance instead of the path of least.   he embodies the message that going down, not rising above, is the message of the kingdom.  and we all know this a brutal message in so many ways because of what it actually requires of us.

i collect crosses.  this photo is one little nook in my house where they’re most concentrated, but i have a bunch more than that (never noticed how crooked they all are, ha ha, it’s a metaphor for my life, that’s for sure).   i love the image of the cross because it reminds me of what i constantly need to be reminded of:

the ways of the kingdom are utterly contrary to the ways of the world.

so in the spirit of post-easter week & the beauty of the cross, i thought i’d share what the cross means to me this year.  not the crosses on my wall or on my necklaces i always wear, but The Cross.  the cross that was carried when Jesus could barely walk.  the cross that his hands and feet were nailed to.  the cross that he took his last breath on.  the cross at the top of hill that was surrounded by people who just a few days before were sure he was somehow going to save them in the way they expected. the cross that took his life momentarily but not in the end.

there’s no doubt in my mind i need to continually remember what the cross really means, not in a happy-clappy-trite-only-on-easter way, but in the deep places of my heart and experience that extends far beyond holy week.

this year, the cross reminds me that:

yeah, without pain and suffering, it’s really hard to experience new life.  all the end-around-ways we try to avoid things are a big waste of time.

my natural tendency is to find a way to take an easier way out.  even Jesus tried.

i always want to move up, not down.  down is harder.  down hurts.  down is confusing.

God uses the weirdest things to make a point.

shame must be scorned.  Jesus didn’t hang on that cross so i/we could live in shame.

love looks like sacrifice.  not talking about sacrifice.  actually sacrificing. damn, it’s easier to talk about it.

love hurts.

God’s way of redeeming injustice and my ways are two different things.

victory needs a new definition; i’m almost positive it isn’t the one was taught to me in most of my christian experience.

the world’s, the church’s , addiction to strength, power, and upward-mobility thinking need some serious shifting.

Jesus modeled what we are actually supposed to do as his followers.  imagine what would the world look like if we actually did it?|

without hope, we perish.

yeah, it is finished.  like, really finished.   and that it is a mind-bender if i embrace what that really means, not just for me but for everyone.

out of death and darkness, hope and new life emerges. sometimes in the most unexpected ways.

just my thoughts this week.  i am thankful for the reminder.

what about you.   what does the cross mean to you this year?

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a few other easter week thoughts:

  • i missed our maundy thursday gathering yesterday because i was with a friend at the hospital, but i read this lovely piece from sarah bessey and it made up for it somehow. yes, we were loved right up ’til the end.
  • i also loved this post today from maggi dawn (mary oliver’s my favorite poet) for good friday.
  • as always, christine sine has the prettiest prayers (we are using one of them at our easter celebration service that is gorgeous). if you haven’t bought her book yet–light for the journey–do!  here’s some recent loveliness:

God as we walk through Holy week may we remember,
Beyond sin there is love inexhaustible,
Beyond death there is life unimaginable,
Beyond brokenness there is forgiveness incomprehensible,
Beyond betrayal there is grace poured out eternally,
May we remember and give thanks

  • last tuesday i was a guest on the collective podcast.  the topic – downward mobility, imagine that.
  • Jesus wept – oh this is beautiful from brene brown and the work of the people.  so worth watching.