Monday, 28 March 2011

Thankyou for the Cross

You sent your Son to die.  For me

The Living God, the Maker of the Heavens and the Earth who put the stars in the sky and created the mountains and the seas and keeps the world turning and the sun shining; you loved me enough to send your Son to die, so that I might live.

It blows my mind. It's that glimpse thing again.  Only this time, I can open that door a bit wider if I concentrate - I got a glimpse of the enormity of what you did for me, and suddenly I find that the insight is staying with me.

You died for me.

You loved your Son infinitely  - a perfect love, and yet your Son was the sacrifice that you made.  The rubbish in my life was so awful, and there was so much of it, that the only thing that was enough to pay for it; to put right the deficit, was a sacrifice that was perfect.  Something unblemished, sinless, perfect.

Jesus, you came from that wonderful place at your Father's side, a place of beauty and glory and you were all powerful, all holy, and yet you chose to die for me. 

You could have said no, you could have said that I wasn't worth it.  You could have saved yourself so much.  Those soldiers mocked you and spat at you and humiliated you and tortured you and you put up with it because you loved me.  

You could have struck them down, taken a horrible revenge, left them in no doubt about who you were. You could have proved them all wrong and climbed down from the cross.  You could have proved that you were God, but you didn't.  

You knew what it would take and you went through with it, horrible and agonising and desperate as it was.

I cannot begin to imagine what pain you were in.  I know that the Romans were pretty good at torture and had made execution into an art form.  I understand that no-one before or since has devised a method of killing someone that is more agonising than crucifixion.  So you were wholly human and felt pain as we do; yet you went through with that, for me.

It's more than that, though.  I know how lonely I have felt at times in my life, when it seems that nobody is on my side; but however sad I've been, that has never truly been the case.  You've always been there, even though I haven't taken any notice of you.  I have never been abandoned. Never have you turned away from me; all my life I have never had to feel what true separation from you feels like, yet that is what you went through on the cross, for me.  The Father had to turn his face away from his Son so that the deal could be done.

How much worse could that have been for you? For you, Jesus, the Son who had only ever experienced complete oneness with the Father went through complete separation as you hung there dying. You, the Father, you knew what your beloved Son was going through; you must have longed to take him in your arms, and yet you knew that it had to be done. To watch your only Son suffer; that sort of emotional pain is out of my imagination.

Last night at church we sang this song:

'Jesus Christ, I think upon Your sacrifice 
You became nothing 
Poured out to death 
Many times, I've wondered at your gift of life 
I'm in that place once again 
I'm in that place once again 

And once again I look upon the cross where You died 
I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside 
Once again I thank You, 
Once again I pour out my life.' 

It came to me, perhaps for the first time, that what I can do is lay down my life in front of you just as it is; it's far from a perfect offering, in fact there's a lot wrong with it, but it's all I have. I want to give you something that reflects what you've done for me, so I can lay down my troubled, broken, imperfect life and you accept it and cherish it, because I am a work in progress and you love me. 

I can't, needn't, shouldn't wait until my life is something worthy of giving you, as that day will never come. There will never be a day that I am able to make myself acceptable to you, and so all I can do is lay down what I have.

'Now You are exhalted to the highest place 
King of the Heavens, where one day I'll bow 
But for now, I'll marvel at Your saving grace 
I'm full of praise once again 
Oh I'm full of praise once again' 

One day, hey. One day I'll be there and I'll be transformed. I can't wait for that day.

'And once again I look upon the cross where You died 
I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside 
Once again I thank You 
Once again I pour out my life 

Thank you for the cross 
Thank you for the cross 
Thank you for the cross, my friend' 

That's the bit that brought tears to my eyes last night in church.  

How come I get to call you, 'My friend'

You're the Lord, the Creator, the Redeemer, the Messiah.  And yet you are my friend.  Me.  I cannot get my head round it.  That's why I want to give you everything.  

I know that what I can give doesn't amount to much. I know that there's much work to be done. I know that some of my life is offensive to you and so part of my gift is pretty useless, but it's all I can I have.  It's no good to give you some bits but try to hide others. 

So I place it in front of you. Take it and change it and use it. 

Thank you for the cross, my friend. 

Words and music Matt Redman 1995
Kingsway/Thankyou Music

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