October 16: Tears at the Cross
‘What do you weep at, if you do not weep at this?’ Dante
I respond to Dante’s question with some uncertainty. When my sin draws me to the One I have pierced, I cannot always tell the difference between tears of contrition and grief over His suffering. First and foremost, He died to cancel out my sin. We go through His broken body and shed blood to be saved; the crucifixion’s horrible power can never be reduced to a sweet idea that applies to really bad people. He is either one’s personal Savior or not the Savior at all.
So I weep over the ugliness in me that killed Him and at the same time the beauty that intervened on my behalf. Usually the latter overtakes the former. God offered Himself for me! Those of us who have offered ourselves badly to creatures—mere images of God–know the scandal and shame of such self-giving. To come before God Himself (no mere image!) who says ‘Look no further–partake in full measure of MY self-giving!’ reduces me to tearful wonder, over and over. Such Love! He could give no more.
My sins are less obvious now but just as real. When I weary of unclean thoughts and furtive glances, a petty and divisive spirit, the selfish little ways that sting those I love most, I remember the Cross and through the Cross God’s persistent, unfailing advocacy. I begin to apprehend a purpose in sin’s persistence: the greater, gleaming love of the Crucified who overtakes my sin and transforms it into wordless dependence upon Himself. Grief gives way to gratitude, and please God, to glimmers of holiness.
Inspired by Zechariah (Zech. 12:10), St. John writes of the crucifixion this way: ‘They will look on Him whom they have pierced’ (Jn 19:37). To this Zechariah adds: ‘And they shall mourn for Him as one mourns for an only child and grieve bitterly for Him as one grieves for a firstborn son.’ Mourning results from a deep realization of sin’s cost—the piercing of God. At the Cross, let tears flow as God pierces us with the converting power of His love.
Join us as we prayer for:
1. Living Waters Regional Development Team, Garry Ingraham, Amy Van Cott, Andrew Comiskey, Dean Greer: For vision in developing regional leadership for Living Waters US and for the August 2015 US Living Waters Leader’s Summit.
2. Living Waters Philippines: For the Lord to continue to strengthen the leaders, Benji and Hazel Cruz and their team; and give clarity and wisdom regarding future expansion of the ministry.
3. RHN: Living Stones Ministries, Carol Wagstaff, Glendora, CA: clarity to prioritize; interns, raising up of young leaders. Help 4 Families, Denise Schick, Ashland, NC: Strength and perseverance to minister to families impacted by transgender members.
“Courage for Reverend Justin Welby (Archbishop of Canterbury), that he would ensure that the Church becomes a clear fountain of transformation for persons with same-sex attraction!”