The foot of the cross
I was reading in I Corinthians today, and this verse caught my attention: “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (I Corinthians 11:26)
It’s strange how my attention is oftentimes drawn to scripture that I have read hundreds of times, yet today, when I read these words it took on a new, more profound meaning. The focus of communion (“The Lord’s Supper”), is His death….till He comes again. It seems that we talk about the resurrected and ascended Jesus so much that we forget about the dead Christ on the cross. Paul was quite clear: The Lord’s supper was all about remembering His death—-and of course the suffering, the reason He died and how He took our place.
What struck me is how often we (meaning me and those close to me) seem to forget the Crucifix and focus solely upon the empty (“the resurrected”) cross. And whereas the empty cross has great spiritual and theological significance, it is the Christ on the cross that we’re told to remember—not the empty cross.
I wonder if we have “sanitized” the story of Jesus too much or perhaps found that it’s easier to market the “happy Jesus” that is often depicted, talking to children and holding a little lamb. You don’t see many paintings in a Christian bookstore of the Christ on the cross—-suffering, bleeding, bruised or dead. And yet suffering on the cross was always God’s plan for His Son. So why do we cringe at the thought?
Death and suffering are things we try to forget or ignore, but, at least in the Christian understanding of God, why would we assume that God would not want His saints to suffer? Why should any of us that bear the name “little Christ”—ie. “Christian—not see the purpose and plan of God’s permission of suffering in our lives?
When I look at the dead Christ on the cross I recall the suffering that One man endured because of His love for me. The Christ on the cross is God’s commentary both on how precious we are to Him and how much He hates sin. It’s hard to remain in sin and remain at the foot of the cross of Jesus.
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