God's love remains
"[Christ] has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross.” Ephesians 2:15-16
Joseph Sittler, a Lutheran theologian, once told this story about the symbol of the cross. Sittler was at a conference, which was being held at a convent. Every day he walked by the chapel and saw the nuns at prayer, gazing at the large cross that hung over the altar. This made him stop and wonder: “Is there any other image in the history of the world that could survive such constant gazing, reflection and prayer? What other form could absorb all of the worries and apprehensions heaped upon it? Is there any other image in the world that could stand the weight of so profound a demand? And the answer was immediate and obvious: ‘No.’” (Gravity and Grace, Augsburg Fortress, 2005, p 21)
The cross has always been a central symbol in our Christian faith. I think that its staying power is because of the tremendous power that it has. It has the power to forgive sins. It has the power to show us God’s unending love. And it has the power to unite. Paul tells us in Ephesians that the cross of Christ has made us one, breaking down all barriers that had once been there. Before God we are all people of the cross. There are many images that we try and replace the cross with, images that we think will be able to take on our pain and replace the cross. So we begin to gaze at these new symbols and begin to heap all of our worries and pains on them. But we quickly learn that these new symbols just don’t work. Soon the symbols fall apart and we are left alone once again, with all of our worries and apprehensions sitting in our lap. But God’s love and grace, as symbolized in the cross, always remain and are always there to take on our cares once again.
Amid all of the changes in life, we can take heart that we have an anchor in this one symbol. At the center of our church lies this one symbol, our defining symbol: a symbol of the love of God; a symbol of the grace of God; a symbol of the promise of God. We find the cross of Christ there to take on our anxieties and fears. We find the cross of Christ there to remind us that, despite all of the barriers that life puts up (fear, busyness, etc.), God is there to remind us of the peace and love that Christ offers.
What can you do that will help you remember that God’s love and peace are always in the midst of your life?