Sunday, August 23, 2009

Beautiful Reminder or Death Sentence?

This morning I got up a little extra early, had my coffee outside in the cool of the morning air to a choir of birds, the crackhead squirrels in our backyard, and the peace and quiet that comes just after the sun rises. Usually on Sunday mornings I'll watch the religious programming, not because I believe a single word they say, but because I really need to be reminded of all the junk that's out there and have a craving for the Truth of the Word of God.

This morning I came across the "Hour of Power" because today is "Driscoll Day" which I have anxiously awaited and was really hoping he would refer to the whole thing as a sham. Earlier they were selling (well, giving away but you must donate to them) a cross necklace. They described it as a beautiful reminder of God's love, and that by putting on said cross necklace, you can get uplifted and feel better. Now, I'm not saying that is necessarily in itself wrong. But, I will quote my wife on this: "That's like saying now that you want to wear an electric chair around your neck. Who would do that?"

The cross is beautiful in its shame, misery, pain, and suffering. It is beautiful because it was on the cross that True Love did die, and that death was in our place. It is beautiful because the stripes and wounds on Jesus' back set us free. It is beautiful because it is now empty, the death of Christ was sufficient. It is not beautiful because it looks pretty around our necks or on our walls or on our bumper stickers. It is hideous when we truly consider what it means. I will discuss what Carrie said. The cross was a death sentence in its time. It was a sign of suffering, hardship, and ultimately execution. When Jesus said "Take up your cross" He wasn't meaning for us to feel better about ourselves and have higher self esteem. He was meaning that when we take up our cross we are willing to go to the same cross.

Wear a cross necklace if you will, but wear it not as a sign of beauty. Wear it because your devotion to Christ is something you're willing to go to said cross for. Our faith is so trivial in America, based on our accessories and t-shirts. Let's make it something more.

PS - Just heard Schuller ask "how did you get through theological education and keep your faith?" Maybe... just maybe... Some theological education would have been good for Schuller, then maybe his ministry wouldn't be built on lousy doctrine. And I just heard the word "SIN" from the first time I can remember from the HoP pulpit. Keep preaching!

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