Thursday, March 26, 2009

For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.
~Luke 9:26
Several years ago I had a pastor ask me to design a banner. The picture he wanted to use had poor resolution, meaning it would be blurry when enlarged. I found several similar pictures and let him choose the one he wanted. The final picture had an angle of the cross stretched out on the sand, the crown of thorns nearby, and there was some blood in the sand. Someone saw it later and commented that it was gory and they didn't think Christians should display blood, thorns, nails, or anything of that sort at Easter. I was dumbfounded.
I don't like gore, and I don't handle violence very well, hence I don't watch war movies and I didn't see the Passion. But I think for any Christian to hide the facts of the horror of the Crucifixion is to hide the horror of sin and the pain and beauty of Christ's sacrifice. It also demeans the Resurrection. Granted, overcoming death itself is significant, but had Christ died a normal or pain-free death, I would still bear my sins. Without the cross there would be no Easter Sunday.
The crucifixion was and is a sickening thing. But it the very foundation of Christianity. Without the cross there is no redemption, no life, no hope.
The church where I work is doing a musical for Easter titled "My Chains Are Gone!" Someone complained today about the graphic being "unfriendly." I teeter between sadness and outrage. Yes, for many the cross is unfriendly. The thought of being chained in bondage and only the cross being able to break those chains is not friendly to our pride. The very admittance that we are all chained to sin is not friendly at all. But it is the message we are called to proclaim. I may not agree with everything MBC does, but I am very proud that its pastors are not ashamed to proclaim the truth of the cross and the power that entails. I'm thankful the cross does provide the power to break the chains of sin that we all carry, and I'm burdened for my spiritual siblings who find the very symbol of freedom offensive and embarrassing.

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