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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Putting Away The Cross

The above picture is a picture of our Church's garden, where TeenFire has our Crucifixion Scene each year on Good Friday.

I took this picture this morning. It has rained almost every day since Good Friday, and I'm waiting on a 3-day stretch of sunshine before I take the crosses back up to our Church attic for storage. We don't want them to warp and mildew.

Standing there, looking at this scene, a quiet realization hit me.

This is what so many of us do. We play the scene, put on the drama, learn our lines, and revel in the Easter moment.

But then we take our Cross . . . and we put it away. Back it goes to its storage cabinet in the corner of our closet called tradition.

This is why our churches are full on Easter Sunday. The visual effects are moving. The communion we take feels cleansing. The story is inspiring.

Why, then, do we move on unchanged?

I'm starting to see the dark side of tradition. Ritual was never meant to take the place of Relationship. Ritual is meant to remind us of the Relationship!

But instead, we place our own Cross away, keeping it in its place, to bring out when it suits us.

But this must NOT happen.

The Cross doesn't go away. God sees it every time he looks at us. He sees it when He discusses our offerings with His Son. He sees it when we lay our burdens at its base.

And He calls us to carry it . . . daily.

"He said to them all, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory..." Luke 9:23-26

"And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost..." Luke 14:27-28

"Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, 'One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.'” Mark 10:21

"For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame -- who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body...." Philippians 3:18-21

Are you following Christ? He doesn't give us any luxury at all to follow two paths. We must do as He says, if we are to follow Him.

Do not set your mind on earthly things.

Keep the Cross upon your shoulder, and keep moving forward.

© Copyright Derek Hickman 2011