Today I sit and meditate on the cross. Many different perspectives and many different teachings tell me of what this cross of self defiance means but none seem to satisfy the depths of my soul. I have found that only in the presence and council of God Almighty can I comprehend and begin to understand the meaning and implication of a cross for me. It has seemed to be of varying meanings in my life in the past in which I have found comfort and redemption. But now as I step into my calling it has an all new purpose and definition.
To live in the presence of the almighty administering his words and caring for humanity is the most blessed role in all of life in all of humanity. What role could be more interesting and fulfilling? But to see the rejection of God through the words that are administered through me… to see the lack of attention and ease of rejection and even further to be personally rejected because of the Gospel is more than upsetting. It is heart breaking.
It is not a new role and a new thought that I have just shared, in fact it started with Cain and Able and has maintained consistency all the ages, through the prophets of old Isaiah, Jeremiah, Joel, Jesus, Stephen, the disciples, and millions of others who represent God to the world. Sinead O’Conner says in a newer song of hers that “if God lived among us we would bust out his windows.” This is true and it becomes more of a reality as I press into God further. I can now see that Charlotte, North Carolina, America, and the World as we know it is not my home. I am just a passer by waiting and watching.
It is amazing to have lived a life of hope in myself, desiring success, and self fulfillment and to come to the cross fleeing the world in utter abandonment. It is not at all something that can be taught or mentally understood. I have done my best to explain the redemption that was wrought through the cross and that began in the garden, and I have explained the purpose of the relational life with God. But as Bono has said, “I knew more then than I do now”.
Now it is the cross before me that relieves my inner turmoil, it is my comfort in this life. I lay myself before the Lord in abandonment of all that is seen and it alone gives me joy.
As much as I desire and am called to minister to the Church I find such hardship as humanity and divinity intersect. I have spent so much time in the world disobeying what God has desired for my life; all I know is that I want to do my best to please the Lord. It is in the American church and in the mirror that I begin questioning my motives. When I stray from the deep communion of prayer and read Christian writers, they seem all too comforting some times… some teachings sound really great but lack something, they write of self preservation through the isolation from the world, while others speak to the depths of my soul about drinking the cup of death and life. To accept the fact that the redemption of the cross is the ministry I am called to. I cannot accept a gun and a mansion where I can punish the lost and needy. I can feel the sincerity of brothers like Watchman Nee and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and I see the death that was there result. And I find the Kingdom.
At the end of Acts chapter 5 Peter and other disciples were doing the miracles of the Church when they were brought to trail before the Sanhedrin. When the apostles where commanded not to preach in the name of Jesus, They spoke with boldness and said that they could not disobey God. As a result they were flogged and after words they went away “rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” What a remarkable passage and more than that a supernatural concept. To be beaten brutally and somehow have the perspective that resulted in rejoicing.
So I know this blog is not anything especially poignant… but this has been my heart lately. I have been enduring hardship in my pursuit of ministry and a deeper relationship with God and the only resolve and the only council that I have found fulfillment is that in my pursuit I have found my goal… I have seen a vision of my future and it ends in the glory of the brutal self relinquishing cross of my Jesus Christ and the cross I surrender to. There is nothing more exciting than to see my Lord. To receive his instructions with a whole heart because I know now what I must accept. I know now what the finish line looks like. I have been running hard for a long time now and have been tempted to slow down and maybe even run off of the track and make my own path… I have looked to the right and left and have just gotten confused. So now I have gotten my second wind and I have gotten my pace.
My friends 2 Tim 1:7 says that “For the Spirit of God gave us does not make us timid, but gives power, love and self discipline.” This is the verse that is on Bonhoeffer’s grave. It has been noted by one of the guards who witnessed Bonhoeffer’s hanging as saying that when he came into his cell to take him to the gallows that he was praying with a supernatural faith in a confidence that God was hearing. As Dietrich walked to the gallows he knelt and said another prayer. Then with an amazing obedience he peacefully allowed these men to take his life. My friends, that is what gives man the perspective to accept the cross… fervent prayer that results in a faith in God and in His son Jesus Christ.
1 Cor. 1:18
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”