The lyrics to the video I’ve embedded below are powerful and have me thinking about a lot of things, actually a lot of people. And, yes, if I’m being honest I can include myself. See, I am like those potential stone throwers in the Gospel who are convicted by Jesus to admit, rather publicly, that they are also sinners.
But let’s we look at the enumeration of the things that are not present when we look at Jesus on the Cross: competition, hierarchy, pride or prejudice, or the abuse of authority. There’s no lust for power or manipulation, no rage or anger or selfish ambition. The list of things not there includes unforgiveness, hate, envy, stupid fighting, bitterness, jealousy. And finally there is no empire building, no self-importance, no backstabbing, vanity, or arrogance.
And what the songwriter, Godfrey Birtill, does see when he looks at the blood of the Cross is sacrifice, salvation, humility, righteousness, faithfulness, grace, forgiveness. Ultimately, these are all summed up in love.
The Sign of God’s Love…
Love of God, love of our neighbor – these are the things Jesus gloriously reveals on the Cross. It is God’s glory, to love all the way, holding nothing back, it’s called self-emptying, kenosis in Greek. It’s becoming completely obedient to the will of God, using your will to empty out all of your own will and surrendering to what God desires for us.
God has a plan, on display in Salvation History that goes back centuries, to the beginning. It’s a plan of saving us all. Some theologians call it the Divine Economy. It has to do with God’s creation and management, if you will, of all of Creation, His Creation. That’s not just the earth, or the universe, or people, plants and animals. That’s not just nature. That is everything, visible and invisible, from the very start. (Not God’s beginning; He doesn’t have one of those. God always was, is, and shall be.)
And all of it God does out of love because He is love and God can do this because He is omnipotent and omniscient. The most amazing thing is, God works out a way, because of this endless love, to save us all. Jesus is the answer. And it is God’s love that holds Jesus on that Cross. When we look at the Cross, we can be grateful for that love that is with us still and always will be. God is forever, His love is everlasting. His mercy lasts forever, too.
So, why did I title this entry Signs? Because the Cross of Jesus is the quintessential sign of God’s love for each one of us. Everyone these days seems to be into yard signs to tell the world, or at least their neighbors and visitors to their neighborhood, something about themselves. The photo I posted with this entry is in my yard. It’s from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 and it’s all about the things that Love is.
Let us pray that our lives can be signs of sacrificial love, the love that is God, to the world.
*Photo is one I took of my sign that I purchased from Care-Net.