Spiritual Rawness at the Cross

25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Hebrews 9 (NIV)

I’ve had trouble writing this summer.[1] The global and national tragedies of the summer, mixed with cantankerous politicians/pundits, and then mixed with funerals in our congregation have left me rather spiritually raw.  I am almost afraid of what I might write.  I believe in being thought provoking.  I believe in challenging misleading doctrines.  I believe in theological discussion.  But I do not believe in divisiveness.  Most often, I try very hard to mix my provocations with gentleness and grace.  I do not want to be one who divides the Church that Christ is making.  So I must not just go write whatever I think.  I try to prayerfully practice self-control.

Well, one product of spiritual rawness is a lack of self-control.  For me, my idea of what is correct and true becomes so conflated with the nature of God that my opinion becomes God.  If my opinion is God then those who oppose my opinion are dispensable enemies.  In such a state I might write about the cross in such a way that loses the very essence of the cross, but feels like truth to me. I’d be writing out of pain, not out of love.[2]

That’s why I cherish where we are in Hebrews: the Cross.  The author of Hebrews just keeps thrusting the cross in my face.  Part of me wants to slap it away and say, “Stop it!  Can’t you see I’m hurting?” But what I’ve found is that the ignominy of the cross stills my soul.[3]  And at its bloody base I can work out this rawness much more powerfully than with a blog post.[4]  So I have no grandiose flourish for you this week.  I simply ask you to take your pain to this cross that Hebrews won’t stop putting in our faces.[5]

Also, my drawing tablet has broken, so I'm missing the drawing part of blogging :-(.  But this is pretty thought-worthy.

[1] It is still summer, you know!
[2] Writing out of pain and love is an altogether different and wonderful thing.  In times past we might have called this, “testimony,” or in today’s parlance, “sharing my story.”
[3] For more thoughts on how I think the cross ought to shake us see my last post here.
[4] And in a way that often benefits bystanders rather than wounding them.
[5] And, if you feel like me, take your sense of the world’s pain there too.


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