I am going to confess something to you today. I like to write about decorating, family, fun, beauty, photography, love, things that make me happy and will hopefully bring a smile to your face. I struggle when I write something and it sounds too preachy.
In our society today, we as Christians face a real discrimination problem. We are encouraged to just shut up and if we do share, please make it pleasant and upbeat. We are told that to reach others, you have to be icky sweet and share Jesus as a passive, sin condoning, whip of a man, who didn't have a backbone, or make anyone mad, well except for the Pharisees. People don't want to hear about the Cross. The Cross is too bloody and we should just focus on the "happy clappy" (dad's words) parts of scripture.
But if we don't see the Cross and point to the Cross when we share, how will they know? How will the world see and know the sacrifice? Bishop preached a message last night called, "The Centrality of The Cross", which means to me, "Keeping The Cross In The Center Of Our Lives." Keeping the Cross of Christ as the center, it keeps us in balance. The Cross is sin, love, fear, grace, redemption, freedom, death, sacrifice, tears, joy, faith, compassion, blood, forgiveness, hope. These are all the things that we deal with everyday. It all came together, in fullness at the Cross of Christ.
When Isaac asked his father, Abraham, "behold the fire and the wood but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering" -Genesis 22:7-8. Abraham didn't know how right he was. God did provide himself as the sacrifice. The forever sacrifice. Jesus, very God and very man, gave himself to be sacrificed for us. (Bishop Estep's Words)
The conviction that we feel when we look at the Cross is good but it doesn't end there. Yes, the Cross does show us how we have sinned but it also shows us our redemption. His sacrifice for our sins was so that we could be made free and clean and whole. We are made whole when we enter into a relationship with Him. He did it all for us. Yes, He loves us that much. We are not without Hope.
When I see the Cross, I see Jesus. When I cannot see Jesus in the world around me, I look at the Cross. It makes me aware that He did it all not only for me but for you too. When I have trouble loving, I remember that the ground is level at the Cross. Available to all. God is not a racist, social status does not matter to him.
I am so thankful that I have people in my life who teach "the blood and guts" of it all. It is the blood that cleanses us from all sin.