My last words on the comment section of my last posting were it’s ‘about Jesus’. And it is. If we are Christians what we believe about Jesus Christ, our love and obedience to him, and our faithfulness to him are all important. But something more, without his righteousness we are nothing, we are lost, we cannot stand before a holy God. Picture by Stephen Larson
Through his life, death and resurrection we are brought into the presence of the Father. United to Jesus Christ, loved by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit we stand in the midst of a sinful world, which includes our own sin, and know he is there transforming us into his image. He matters, his cross matters, his goodness is our only goodness.
Last night I was rereading one of my favorite books; one I have mentioned before on my blog, High King of Heaven: Aspects of Early English Spirituality by Benedicta Ward. In several chapters Ward writes about the devastation English and Irish Christianity experienced under the invasion of the Danes who raped, murdered and burnt churches and monasteries. She also writes about the importance of the cross to those particular Christians.
Ward, breaking out of her historical period, offers the reader an analogy from the modern period. She writes:
“This apprehension of the Cross as the central point of union with Christ and therefore not something to be avoided or confused with any kind of comfortableness was brought out starkly in a radio programme when the interviewer asked Lord Hailsham if, when he lost his wife by a tragically early death, he found consolation in his strong religious belief; he replied ‘none whatsoever; the cross was applied without palliative.’ That is exactly what the first missionaries hoped would be the Anglo-Saxon Christian stance: the Cross was not something that made them feel better, nicer, more comfortable, more victorious, more reconciled to tragedy, better to cope with life and death; it was rather the centre of the fire in which they were to be changed.”
I believe the rejection of Jesus Christ often, despite words to the contrary, has to do with the terror of embracing that cross. Perhaps because it is forgotten that Jesus embraced it first, and overcame.
There is a beautiful Irish song with several names. Most Presbyterians know it simply as St. Patrick’s Breastplate. But in a more complete form it is called “The Deer’s Cry.” In this video the singer, Angelina, sings more of the words, although not all.