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A hermitudinal view of...stuff...



I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by to know no gain or loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.

This is the last verse of Beneath the Cross of Jesus. It brings to mind several passages of scripture I've looked over and meditated upon these last few days, most recently Galatians 6:14 which reads, "But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."

I've said it before, and it bears repeating still more, that the glory of God is seen in sin, our sin, my sin, being punished on the cross in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. If this does not make one pause and shudder, I do not know what will.

I think this is at least a part of what Paul was pointing out. His letter to the Galatians was not one of exultation; indeed, his entire tone was one of brutal honesty, even harshness. His "boasting" near the end of the letter does not seem to be any different.

My own Christian culture has never known a day when speaking of the cross was not cool. Cheesy shirts, wristbands, cartoons, and the like all have a tendency to make the cultural shock of speaking of the cross an entirely foreign concept. Forget the fact that it was Jesus Christ who died on the cross; in that day and age, anyone who died on a cross was someone who died the most brutal, heinous death imaginable, even those who deserved it. Even in today's "civilized" world, we don't cheer about murderers on death row being injected and dying. No, we still recognize that there's a sober sadness to it all, even if justice is being carried out.

Thus, it is often hard to realize the full burst of shock Paul intends when he speaks of not only boasting in the cross, but of boasting only in the cross.

The same can be said of Elizabeth Clephane's words in Beneath the Cross of Jesus. I find that drawing near to the cross is a most hard and difficult thing. The glorious light of my Savior's face is a light fully far too bright, even in its dimmest glow, for I find that such a glorious beam does search out and reveal all of my darkest sins, those deep corners I try vainly to hide. And yet, is it not the glory of God to do just that, to take my sin and punish it on the cross, and in doing so, gloriously display it for all to see? What my flesh forgets is that the cross is a display of grace, one where God no longer holds back His wrath but pours it forth in righteous glory.

posted by Bolo | 1:20 AM
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