Gal 6:14 May I never put anything above the cross of our Lord Jesus the Anointed. Through Him, the world has been crucified to me and I to this world.
This morning I attended two very different Good Friday services in two different towns. As I left the first one, and walked toward my car, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “What is my takeaway for having been here?” Also, “What does the cross mean to me, personally?”
Really, I have no words. There is no verbal or written expression that can unravel the mystery or make an appropriate response to God’s transcendent love and Christ’s transcendent sacrifice. A song came to mind from Matt Redman, I Will Offer Up My Life, and the line
Oh my words could not tell, not even in part
Of the debt of love that is owed by this thankful heart.
As I thought about it later, the song is strongly oriented to Easter even though the title points to a personal response of sacrifice to God.
You deserve my every breath, for You’ve paid the great cost
Giving up your life to death, even death on the cross
You took all my shame away, there defeated my sin
Open up the gates of heaven and have beckoned me in
The cross does demand a response however, and for Redman, the songwriter, that response is defined at the outset, in the first verse,
I will offer up my life in spirit and truth
Pouring out the oil of love, as my worship to you
In surrender I must give my every part
Lord, receive this sacrifice of a broken heart
At the second service we looked at the verse in Galatians (above) and also this passage:
NIV I John 4:8b …God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
The speaker said that while “the holiness of God demanded that there be a punishment for sin, the love of God demanded that there be a way of salvation.” The sermon title was, “There Had to be a Cross.” That reminded me of another song by another British songwriter, Graham Kendrick, Here is Love. The speaker said the cross is the intersection of our sin and God’s love; you could also God’s requirement for justice meeting his loving mercy.
Grace and love like mighty rivers
Born incessant from above
Heaven’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love
My prayer today is that you also would find something new in the Good Friday/Easter narrative, and would make a personal response.
As a bonus, here’s the song that follows the one above from Graham Kendrick.