Three men shared death upon a hill,
But only one man dies;
The other two—
A thief and God himself—
Three crosses still
Are borne up Calvary’s Hill,
Where Sin still lifts them high:
Upon the one, sag broken men
Who, cursing, die;
Another upholds the praying thief,
Or those who penitent as he,
Shall find the Christ
Beside them on the tree
“Upon A Hill”, Miriam LeFevre Crouse
It occurred to me this Easter, that we tend to focus on the cross.
There is a congregational act that we did where we place our sins ( red paint on hands) on the cross. The act of painting the cross with red hands, symbolizes us putting our sin on the cross.
It concerns me that the cross becomes point of forgiveness, where in fact it’s Jesus Christ that took our sins upon himself. Are we giving the wrong message?
I hear what you are saying, Brian. It sometimes almost sounds like a ‘crossolatry’. ‘
…and I’ll cherish the old rugged cross …’
But perhaps is just the church using the cross as a symbol, or a convenient shorthand, for the entirety of Jesus’ mission to us human beings on earth.
I suppose we need to be sure we’re worshipping the right thing…
Let’s also remember there’s a grammatical usage called ‘metonymy’ A figure of speech in which one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it is closely associated (such as “crown” for “royalty”). Paul uses this device quite regularly… see 1 Cor 1:17-18
My guess would be that the red paint on the hands, touching the cross, as the same level of symbolism.
Doug and I have been richly blessed by a wonderful, godly counsellor, Daryl James who remarked on this point. He pointed out to us that although the pain and anguish Our Lord Jesus suffered on the cross is unmistakable….we forget the beating and lashing Jesus received prior to the crucifixion. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are headed.” Isaiah 53:5 The tendency is for us to forget Christ’s suffering BEFORE He went to the cross…..It is in HIS suffering that we are healed of our transgressions and iniquities. Very interesting….although I have known about this as a believer, the impact has changed my view.
When I reflect on the Cross, what I see is not only forgiveness, nor do I see just our sin placed on Him to bear and take to the depths…it goes past the Way to eternity. It brings me to the place of the greatest betrothal in history. What man, king, or ruler has ever laid down his life for his bride? He purchased a Bride upon that cross as well, we should be reminded of this when we drink of the cup- for when the Jewish man goes to ask the father for his daughter’s hand, he brings a glass and wine. He pours it, then offers it to the father- if he drinks, he accepts the potential bridegroom. There is always so much depth to pursue of the Holy…
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