Slideshow image

I grew up in a very conservative evangelical church where our yearly celebrations were Christmas, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.   The Christmas decorations, Christmas music and Christmas church activities started the beginning of December and so I had some time to “get ready” for Christmas. But Good Friday and Easter just happened without any preparation.   As my Christian worldview expanded a little bit I realized that there were many church traditions that celebrated something called Lent.   I didn’t really know what Lent was but I supposed that it was some kind of heart preparation for Good Friday and Easter Sunday.   I remember very clearly the year I decided that I needed or desired to do something to get my heart ready for Easter and so made a plan to take the journey with Tricia Rhodes and her book Contemplating the Cross.   It was February 28, 2001. This little book helps you journey to the cross by piecing the four gospels into one story of the last hours of Jesus.   It is written in the present tense to encourage you to identify with Christ personally as the story unfolds.   The very first day was a stretch for me.   I am asked to quiet my heart by releasing worries, cares and distractions into the Holy Spirit’s hands. This is so much easier said then done. Then it is time to think about the cross and ask myself this question. Does the thought of the Cross touch you deeply or has familiarity with it produced complacency? I was soon to find out that I had really not put much thought into the Cross at all.   Each day Rhodes encourages you to place yourself in the story. On day one you find yourself going to the Mount of Olives, heading towards the Garden of Gethsemane. As she describes how Jesus must have been feeling, the urgency of the moment and the love he speaks of from the Father and His love for his disciples I had a sense of the intimacy of the place. I felt like I wanted to tell the disciples to drink these moments in. They will be some of your last ones with Jesus.   Aw…but then she asks me to respond. I was to reflect on my own need for a Redeemer, considering my personal sin and disobedience. Did I have a sense of mourning and grief as I contemplated the Cross? Could I receive the love of Christ who died on the Cross for me?   In the following days this was my prayer. I know I can come to the Cross without being changed, so Lord, as I walk with you through your final moments may I have a small sense of what it cost you. May I see your heart of love for me and help me to respond with praise, confession and worship.   That year on Easter Sunday I could sing with my whole heart, “Crown Him the Lord of love: Behold His hands and side---“      

Comments for this post are now off.