The Romance of The Cross

Stay, my restless heart, my wandering feet. The way of escape is here. The place of newness and purpose is here too. Not in the next adventure, the next accomplishment, the next good deed, the next admirer.

Stay and look up, above the spectacles, the sensations, the vanity. There is a cross up there in the sunshine, strong and plain, beckoning you back to Contentment. Back to your First Love–the Christ who willingly went “like a lamb to the slaughter.” Back to the Christ who healed the pastor’s broken marriage and rescued him from the cartel.

How many kings and priests and prophets of ancient times longed to see what you see? You belong to someone, not something. You belong to a person, not a religious tradition or ideal. It is nothing less than the precious body that was broken like bread and the precious blood that was poured out like wine. “God With Us.” God for man and man for God. God and man, reconciled in the person of Jesus Christ.

Stay, my restless heart, my wandering feet. Desire the one who desires you.

Stay and absorb the fact that God caused the sinless One to become sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God. Christ left his throne in glory to become poor, hungry, tired–to weep and sweat and bleed. He was the model human, and there would be peace on earth if everyone were like him. But he knows about rejection, betrayal and abandonment. Temptation–yeah, he knows about that too. Three times Pilot declared, “This man is innocent.” But guilty Barabbas went free while Christ took his place. Sin causes many different kinds of pain, and Christ experienced them all on the cross. Not only was he naked that black day. Not only was he hated. Not only was he cruelly abused. Christ was “in the beginning with God,” he was always perfect, but on his execution stake he became the scum of the earth.

Christ was cursed.

He became me and you. He became both the victim and the perpetrator. God looked at him and saw a murderer, a liar, a thief, an adulterer, a rapist, a homosexual, an addict, a witch, a coward, a leper, a narcissist, a gossip, an idolater… Christ was condemned and separated from his Father, because sin separates us from God and from each other.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? … You are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises… But I am a worm…”–Psalm 22:1-6

Stay, my restless heart, my wandering feet. Stay and hear him gasping. My God, my God, why have You forsaken me! Hear the demons screaming. Christ never sinned, but he experienced the torment of sin–the shame, the weight, and the bitterness of it. He can go into any hospital or prison or abyss of God-forsakenness today, and he can relate to the people there.

Stay, my restless heart, my wandering feet. Cherish the one who cherishes you.

Stay and rest awhile. It’s not too good to be true. How can you possibly offer anything better to God than what has already been offered for you? Foolish, offensive thought! Just as by one man’s rebellion all creation was cursed, so also by one man’s obedience all creation will be blessed. And now, if God is for you, who can be against you?

Stay, my restless heart, my wandering feet. Stay, and let go, with open-handed wonder. Is it not heaven to cast your cares on Christ? One day in his courts is “better than a thousand elsewhere.” In his presence there is “fullness of joy.” At his right hand there are “pleasures forevermore.”

Look at him and be radiant.

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