What has the Cross of Christ meant in your life?
This Sunday, tomorrow, is Palm Sunday and my pastor has asked me to tell the congregation just this: “What has the Cross of Christ meant in my life?”
A major question to be sure – complete with weight, merit, depth, layers – nearly a zip code of potency. Still my answer burst off the starting line, immediate and confident and unchanging.
Our Father is a name changer – Sarai to Sarah, Abram to Abraham, Saul to Paul. Even in our wedding toast my father in law noted that my husband’s name was changed – by me – when we met on Fifth and Pike – from Bill to Will. When he introduced himself as Bill, I just couldn’t see it. So what does this have to do with freedom?
I’ve been called so many things in my life – lost count on the nicknames, most of them sweet and silly from family and friends and each reinforcing my loved state with each rendering. Others are not such: Failure, follower, weak, selfish. But God knows better. He calls me daughter, saved, perfected, wanted, adopted, loved. I am a daughter of the King. As I kiss my boys each night at bedtime I whisper, “You are a son of the Most High King. God loves you very much sweet boy.” I belong to Him and therefore am free from any other name that seeks to hold me back. He has called me wanted – nothing can change that and I am free from words that, on a day when I’m inclined to believe the world, could make my forget Who I belong to. Freedom in belonging.
Freedom in foundation. Did you know that marriage is the only covenant we can make with God? In scripture, God made covenant with His people in several ways – promising to make them numerous, to give them a holy land, to send a Messiah – and He keeps His Word. But there is no writing of man making covenant with God – we aren’t promise keepers by nature and we forget so often. Notice how many times in scripture God calls us to remember – His acts, His faithfulness. He knows we’re forgetful. But in marriage we are invited to make covenant with God – to bind ourselves in His eyes to another of His children forever. That’s IMMENSE! The Cross means freedom in foundation – that the health, longevity, vitality of my marriage does not rest in me alone, but is in the mighty hands of our God. I am called to pray, to fight, to love well, to let go of my selfishness so attractive and familiar, yes. But He sustains us in our relationships like a unrelenting safety net while I’m on the high wire. When you hear that 50% of marriages fail – then look up at the person whose name you share and realize that that means you too – having God beneath you, the Rock upon which your house is built – is total relief.
Freedom in forgiveness. Freedom in adventure. Freedom from the ordinary. Freedom in eternity.
Tomorrow I get to share all this with my congregation. As is always the case, the moment I agreed to speak and then hung up with our pastor, the reluctance to say anything crept in. Could I change my mind? This is a true honor to say just what His Cross has meant to me – please Lord help me to remember that and to represent You well tomorrow.