Journey to the Cross
Wednesday, February 17
Barbara Crank, member of RPC since 1999
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. - 1 Peter 3:18
Lent is a time of penitence and sacrifice in remembrance of our Lord's sacrifice and suffering. What did God hope to accomplish by subjecting his Son to such pain, anguish, torment, and crucifixion? Why for Jesus? Why for us today?
Although it is truly difficult to comprehend the extent of the agony of Christ's suffering and death on a cross, we see the floggings continue when we read about child abuse, social injustices, domestic violence, infidelity, and crimes. We see Jesus bleed when his children endure cancer, the side effects of chemotherapy, and an abruptly-ended life at an early age; or the interruption of life when a loved one no longer recognizes you or your touches; or an illness or car accident that can leave one paralyzed or orphaned. For me, Jesus is defined by His courage and the way He overcame death which was wrapped in all of our physical sufferings, sins, and griefs. His death was so that we could have hope for a future free from all pain and suffering if we receive Him.
How overwhelming and humbling to know that I am acquitted of my sins because Jesus' death paid my sin debt. I can be assured of this guarantee because of Christ's resurrection and his life after death. I can share the life of God now and forever in spite of all life's interruptions.
The Resurrection is the ultimate miracle story. For our finite minds, it manifests itself in various situations today which can give us hope in spite of suffering. I recall as a nurse being in charge of a neuro floor where many so-called "hopeless situations" lay. One young man in his 20s had been in a coma for three months as a result of an auto accident. Another middle-aged woman had been in a coma for about four months as a result of a traumatic brain injury. With much determination from the staff to continue turning these patients every two hours, exercising their extremities, sitting them up in a chair, talking to them so they could respond, and just general good nursing care, "life" began to emerge again. When called, the lady's skeptical doctor abruptly left his office to come see his patient walk again with assistance. Among joyful tears, we all applauded and whispered our own prayers of thanksgiving. Mobility and cognition eventually returned for the young man, also.
"Lord, give me grace, lest I, as people will, Should pass by someone's Calvary - And think it just a hill." (author unknown)
Thank you, God, for your gift of Eternal life that gives us peace, purpose, and a pilgrimage with you. Teach us how to live faithfully in response to your amazing love. Amen