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March 2018 - Holy Week is upon us

March 1, 2018

     In his book, Lift High the Cross, Robert Morgan tells about a most unusual cross that stood on the lawn of a Dallas church one Lenten season.  The cross, which was about ten feet tall, created such a stir that pictures of it were carried by newspapers across the country and a television station in Dallas filmed it.  It was an ugly thing – made from weapons of violence and crime, most of which had been confiscated by the Dallas Police Department. There were guns and pistols, knives and bayonets, bullets, bombs, and broken glass. The cross rose out of the remains of an automobile that had been involved in a drunken driving fatality.  An ugly barbed-wire enclosure, like they use at prisons, surrounded the whole thing.  It was an ugly sight – a thing of violence and death and it caused quite a controversy.  The neighbors hated it – in fact, they started a petition to have it removed.  The congregation's members were repelled by it.  They thought it was sacrilegious and had no place on the church grounds.  The pastor just commented, "The reactions to our Lenten display are understandable. No one wants to be reminded of our inhumanity toward each other.  But isn't that indeed the basis for the cross?"

     It was a cross no one wanted to see.  Much like the cross of Christ – a cross of suffering and shame, a cross of derision and death.  Each year during Holy Week, we are reminded of that cross and we are asked to stay there for a while even though we would rather skip ahead to Easter Sunday.  We would rather avoid the story of Jesus’ cross because it hurts.  It hurts to imagine Jesus abandoned and suffering on the cross with only a faithful few watching him breathe his last breath.

     But we must find our place in this crucifixion story and feel the pain that is there: the pain of the world, of faithless decisions, of betrayal, of injustice.

Jesus entered that pain out of faithfulness to us,

to witness to the truth that is justice, wholeness and love.  We will never have all the answers to the suffering and injustice that we experience in this life, but we have a faithful savior who suffered in the same way that we do, who suffered a cruel and unjust fate at the hands of those he had come to save.  We have a savior and friend who is with us in all of our trials and sorrows.  That is why we need to enter into the story of Holy Week.

     We will have questions.  We will suffer.  But we have a faithful friend who is present with us in every moment of pain and hurt.  In the words of the old African-American spiritual, “I want (this) Jesus to walk with me:”

 

     I want Jesus to walk with me,
     I want Jesus to walk with me;
     All along my pilgrim journey,
     O, I want Jesus to walk with me.

 

     In my trials, Lord, walk with me;
     In my trials, Lord, walk with me;
     When my heart is almost breaking,
     O, I want Jesus to walk with me.

 

     When I’m troubled, Lord, walk with me;
     When I’m troubled, Lord, walk with me;
     When my head is bowed in sorrow,
     O, I want Jesus to walk with me.

  

                                     Blessings and Peace,

                                     Ron Krueger

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