The Beautiful, Terrible Cross

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.  Galatians 2:20

This is my husband and his art project.  Now, he has not identified himself as an artist and most people would probably not think of sculpture when they think of him.  Nonetheless, here it is.

He and Dear Son often are asked to take down trees, and sometimes they remove trees from fixer-uppers they are working on.  This tree has been sitting in the woodpile for awhile.  My husband has talked about the three crosses he could see in this tree trunk for a couple of years now.  With help from some friends and family as muscle, he carved them out with a chainsaw.

This is the second Easter season that my church has invited people to bring visual conceptual art to reflect on the cross of Jesus.   Yesterday we took a trailer and Bobcat to haul this piece to the church to be added to the others.

The cross.  A symbol of capital punishment.  A symbol of gruesome death and defeat and terrible suffering.  And absolutely necessary for the work of redemption.  By the cross, God has reconciled us to Him.  By the cross, the futility of our broken lives is judged forever.  By the cross, we embrace the death we must embrace that we may live.

Have you wondered why those who claim to be Christians often do not look any different than those who don’t?  It’s because they don’t understand that being saved requires death.  We must die “that I might live to God.”  People who have died, having been crucified with Christ, have nothing to brag about; nothing to defend; nothing to hoard; no personal agenda to promote; dead people have no addiction to rule them.  But once we understand that we cannot keep what is not ours, once we pick up the cross and follow Him, only His life in us matters.  His dreams for us and others, His power, His direction, His purpose is now ours.  Until we realize that this is the purpose of the cross, we will continue to try to live “the Christian life” with the same beggarly selfishness which guided us before.

Who knew that an artist lived in this farmer?  Jesus did.  Jesus uncovered the cross in the block of wood and revealed the power, the pain, of the Beautiful, Terrible Cross.