How do you feel when you stop, really stop, and realize you have taken someone or something for granted — a relationship, a job, education, or even just food on the table? I don’t like it when I come to this place. Its value, influence or proper place in my life was lost.
Some things are so common, meshed with our lives, and though once extraordinary, are now barely beyond notice, like a light fixture on the wall. We sure notice it though when the light goes out. It could be as mundane as a piece of furniture, clothing or device in which we impatiently awaited its arrival, yet now, blends into everyday life. The relationship which was constantly on the mind and given every extra ounce of energy and thought, now needs to be placed in the schedule. Even deeper … this time of year can be like this for me as eggs fill baskets and bunnies hop. Easter, eggs and the cross become like a fixture on my wall. Life moves quickly and I forget…
Setting a Reminder
I sat in front of the crucifix with the nails, the thorns, red blood trickling down — knowing He died, died on the cross for the sin of the world. Any honest person, can’t deny that the world is in need of a remedy, of saving. Things are not as they ought to be. And even as a child I knew this. I couldn’t imagine otherwise. It was too evident. Christ’s blood was needed.
Stilled in our beautiful Cathedral on Easter, one of the two times of the year we attended mass as a family, there were constant reminders of this weighty world I lived in — the sorrow in Jesus’ eyes, the crosses, the candles lit by individuals praying, the paintings of the hungry being fed, blind given sight, and of the stations telling the story of the cross Jesus carried. I couldn’t get away from the fact that Jesus’ blood was needed and that the world needed Jesus.
But there was something else — as I knelt to pray in the enveloping quiet, I couldn’t help but lift my gaze upward to the beautiful lofty ceilings and the glistening stained glass windows. Both seemed to say that heaven was also near and peace was there.
Even at home there were similar reminders. A crucifix hung on the wall. Most of the time it was just a part of the decor. But sometimes I would take it off the wall and examine it a little more closely. Again there was the sad eyes, and the blood.
In unguarded, simple moments, heaven did feel like it could be touched, breathed — especially in the times I was outside on a blue-sky day, exploring the woods or playing in the field behind our home. I think here I experienced a taste of heaven’s peace and beauty.
Not a Fixture
Fixtures in a home — a hall light, a ceiling fan, or door knob, are meant to be useful (sometimes beautiful), but for the most part they are to blend in. The mundane is to be mundane.
But the cross and my rescue are never to just blend in. It is to remain extraordinary.
I am thankful for the reminders set in that Cathedral. The cross did intersect my daily life, yet often it felt like it was a small intersection. It intersected and I moved on. It was more of a fixture to be examined from time to time.
The Forgotten War
If you and I were in a warring nation right now, we would long, dream and pray constantly for peace. If ISIS was drawing near to our nation, city, or neighborhood, everything else would seem superfluous. There would be no evading it. All of our desires would be for security, protection and peace
When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having cancelled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14
The cross is a reminder to me of two parties who were separated, at war. Do I remember, that my reconciliation was desperately needed?
There was red: His blood was given for my reconciliation.
For it was the Father’s good please for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. Colossians 1:19-2
The blood of Christ, brought the very thing we desperately needed: to be reconciled.
The White after the Red
The White: peace now granted.
I was given peace through the cross. I confuse this peace with the fluffy cloud, sort of peace. Yes, a peace that surpasses all understanding is part of the fruit — but the peace we were invited into was a peace in which enemies or those at war long for.
And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach… Colossians 1:21-22
Do I believe this? That I needed this sort of peace? I was at war?
The cross is beautiful because of the love the Father poured out, the obedience of the Son, and the peace that was won. The cross intersects the warring parties— offering peace.
Reconciliation: The Father initiated it. I needed it.
Yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach… Colossians 1:2
Peace is here, now between me and God. The war is over.
Remembering the Extraordinary
Have I experienced the Father’s love so long that I forget what it was like to not know it?
Or do I become so focused on my day-to day life, that the red and white become a fixture, just apart of the decor of my life?
Or maybe, doubt, shame and sin linger and condemn me— so I forget what has been done for me? My self keeps my eyes on my self.
My sin put me in rebellion. Without the blood of Christ, my life now and for eternity would have been separate from Him. His blood interceded in this rebellion. Christ paid for my shame, brought me near and gave me a new life:Rescued and transferred. This is extraordinary and worth remembering each day.
Remembering is good.
I needed the blood.
I was given peace.
Reconciled at last.
These are not fixtures.
Speaking as a Reconciled One
There is now words for the reconciled – precious words. Mission has changed. I have the mission of the reconciled — to share the message of reconciliation with others.
Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18,19
I can’t let the cross become a fixture — taken for granted. I don’t want to forget I was at war, others are still at war.
Yet, even in a desire to to good, I may become sidetracked, even with good things:
- “My calling and mission” —more of a focus than the Reconciler’s mission.
- Physical needs that are overwhelming. Children need homes. Affluent lifestyle is damaging. Sexual immorality is cheating our world. These need to be addressed but they are all signs of a need for reconciliation with God. Words are needed.
- Focusing on issues, that are minor issues — that don’t need as much attention.
- Passioniate speech —that is full of the latest trending issues, quotes, teaching or lingo. What the world needs us to speak most of is reconciliation.
Being reconciled is extraordinary, and beautiful. The cross is more than a fixture, but an intersection desperately needed everyday. I was at war and now I am at peace. There was red, white, and then reconciliation. The extraordinary is extraordinary.