We are approaching Easter and many are involved in the celebration of Lent. As I understand Lent, it is a time to reflect on the cross and therefore our sins and their forgiveness. It is impossible to have an Easter advent without the cross.
The cross was and is a symbol of terrible punishment, reserved for the worst of criminals or traitors. God made it a curse to be hung on a tree and demanded that any bodies on one should be removed. It was one of the vilest signs in the Roman world, worse even than the electric chair in modern times. This is the avenue Jesus took to redeem the world. God put his son on the cross to be our curse. The depth the cross went was a result of the highest love.
The cross was and is a symbol of extreme sacrifice and love, benefiting the worst of sinners and traitors to the truth of God. God made it the means of grace, the fullness of his forgiveness and the certainty of his promise. “He was despised and rejected by man,” but his cross is worn around necks, and carried in pockets and hung on walls. The emptied cross is a constant reminder that my sins disappeared there.
“How I love that old cross, the symbol of suffering and shame.” I love it because it was the means of my redemption, it was the moment of my salvation. When they nailed Jesus on the cross he nailed my sins there. When Jesus asked God to forgive them, I know he was talking about me. “Burdens are lifted at Calvary,” is my theme song. The burden he lifted up on that old rugged cross was the sin of Philip Dampier.
Lent is a time to think about our sins and his forgiveness. Its a good time to think less of other’s sins and forgive them. It’s a good time to reorder our lives as we prepare to celebrate the empty tomb. The cross is a reminder of what we were. It is also a reminder of what we now are because of it. From sinner to saint lie on each side of the cross. Before the cross I was a sinner but after the cross I became a saint. “Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.”
As we move toward Easter let’s do so by kneeling at the foot of the cross.