How Deep Your Cross?
‘The rain came down, the stream rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it was founded on the Rock.’ (Matt. 7: 25)
Sexuality may not be the most important aspect of our humanity. But its integrity reveals the depth of Jesus’ converting power. This Good Friday I reflect upon the rising and falling of many and can now correlate surrender to the Crucified with sexual sanctity. Or scandal. We can allow the Cross to descend into our hearts--the source of unseen motives, fantasies, and hungers. We give Him lordship over our passions by allowing trustworthy members of Christ to know us well and help us order our longings in a way that denies foolishness and dignifies others.
Or the ‘social self’ nods superficially at doing the right thing while feasting on the sly. We go with the sensational, unstable flow to our peril. Like a handsome cottage built atop a pier, its pilings eroded by currents whipped up by moral storms, we collapse into the abyss of cyclical monogamy, divorce, new lovers and new ‘selves’ all of which we justify on the grounds that we are finally being ‘authentic.’
Authentic? Not to Jesus. He is not fooled, nor should we be, when fellow believers reveal that they have neither understood nor taken up the Cross at all. We were happy to celebrate our gilded gateway to heaven but when asked to die to our vanities we held out. In truth we hated the Cross more than we loved it. We refused its descent into unwieldy, contradictory passions. As a result, we stopped becoming persons of virtue who could be counted on in unwanted singleness, or after the wedding, when old passions roared in like a flood.
No Cross, no anchor: we can readily forsake our plumb line and lightning rod, the emblem of God’s warfare on our behalf endowed with power to break the grip of any desire usurping Christ.
Gratefully, Good Friday shines a light on men and women I have known who have lived differently. Many who had been mastered by ‘gay’ selves and sensuality have since refused all worldly lures to ‘self-realization’; they simply could not fathom life outside the shadow of the Cross. Jesus became everything for them—their life, health, peace, and protection. The Cross continues to bore its royal way into their depths, one confession, one repentance, one death at a time. They now live for Him; He is their form, their fragrance, their fruitfulness.
Two images I received—one was of dead thick wood that was insect-infested and hollow, being gathered up and thrown into the fire. Beware of believers who claim the ‘truth’ of immoral authenticity. They have (limited) authority to infect the flock, are detached from the Cross and will be thrown into the fire. I then saw young men like Andrew Franklin, Ken Williams, and Marco Casanova whose very uprightness derives from the Cross. I could see green roots coursing up through their cruciform lives, ordered desires and actions growing and extending out in potent expressions of surrendered masculinity.
Today I marvel. The Cross, an instrument of death, becomes in our ‘yes’ the tree of life. Hail the Crucified God who makes all things new. Purchase a copy of Ken Williams' latest book by clicking the picture below.