16 Apr 2014

Meeting the Cross on the way {journey to the Well} #11

Good Friday is coming.

The Cross is looming large in my heart. Its shadows fall long and it seems I am in a perpetual Arctic winter where the days are always dark. Yet it is a good, even glorious darkness. This kind of darkness is meant for us to stop trying to 'make hay while the sun shines'; to stop our busy efforts at making life work. It is the dark of being shielded so a secret work can take place.

Often God does his work very quietly and if we do not come under the shadow of the Almighty, we will miss it. The lights, sounds, dazzles and demands of daily city life often distract and detract us from God's most precious work.

Can I urge you dear friend to come and stand under the shadow of the Cross too?

And would you share with us what begins to stir in your heart as you do?

As I stand under the shadow of the Cross, my mind remembers how Love decided to act. But more, my heart wrestles with whether my love is large enough to act like His Love did. I know full well the areas I want Life to fill and brim over; those areas I am pretty sick of being so pale and lacklustre; missing the Life and abundance.

What was it dear Jesus, that makes you go to that wicked Cross? Why did you face and fight death?

Then the Spirit whispers this ~

"...for the joy set before him, Jesus endured the cross, despising the shame.." ~ Hebrews 12v2

You know why we struggle so to let go, to give in, to give up, to be wrong, to forgive ... ? 
We have no clue the joy that can come. We are stuck with the nails and hammer. Our eyes are fixed on the pain. Our minds are rehearsing our regrets. Our hearts are clinging on to small delights. 

Jesus was confident of his joy. 

This enabled him to endure the cross. 
This enabled him to look at his ignoble, humiliating, undignified death and loss as something to despise

Jesus knew the enemy would do his worst; throw the whole shebang; but he wasn't going to let the horror, the agony, the loss of face.. - the shame - wrap him up into subservience.  He despised it all. They were not worth his focus.

If Jesus felt grief and loss on the Cross; it was clear it happened at three points: the ignorance of the evildoers, the turning away of God, the inability to continue to care for his mother. 

But the Cross and its shame? He despised it.

It was as if Jesus was having this conversation with shame:

"Listen to me, Shame, do you fee that joy in front of me? Compared to that, you are less than nothing. you not not worth comparing to that! I despise you. You think you have power. Compared to the joy before me, you have none. Joy. Joy. Joy. That is my power! Not you, Shame. You are worthless. You are powerless.

You think you can distract me? I won't even look at you. I have a joy set before me. Why would I look at you? You are ugly and despicable, and you are almost finished. You cover me now as with a shroud. Before you can say, 'So there!', I will throw you off like a filthy rag. I will put on my royal robe.

You think you are great, because even last night you made my disciples run away. You are a fool, Shame. You are a despicable fool. That abandonment, that loneliness, this Cross - these tools of yours - they are all my sacred suffering, and will save my disciples, not destroy them. You are are fool. Your filthy hands fulfil holy prophecy. Farewell, Shame, It is finished."

Death must -come- before Resurrection, and we take the death because we so want the Resurrection unto new Life. Because we are confident of New Life promised to us. Things are not what they seem yet; but they will not remain the same if we are willing to die, to despise the shame that may come with it ... so that Life breaks in.

How high have you set your sights for your life? Is it for Life, or is it just to live?

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