Friday, April 10, 2009

Improvising Upon "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross"

When I survey the wondrous cross, I am horrified. Tattered and torn skin…blood matted hair…pain induced quivers…the death of God. A man so battered and betrayed that words…fail.


When I survey the wondrous cross, its beauty startles me. The life…the love…the compassion…of the death of God. It…no, He summons me to feast upon that which I gaze. For some unresolved reason I accept the offer.


When I survey the wondrous cross, I am haunted.

For my soul knows…

my inmost being bows in contrition…

compunction convicts.

My hands, my thoughts, my eyes betray the reason for the death of God.


When I survey the wondrous cross, I am mystified. I search for it’s meaning, for its understanding…for the “why’s” of what I see. What was God doing on the cross? There are so many answers. The more doctrine digested, the more elusive and yet, simultaneously adjacent the death of God becomes.

Peter, why couldn’t you have kept it’s meaning to yourself? “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” (I Pet. 2.21) Why must you involve us? Why must you summon me?

As if we want to…

as if I am willing…

to follow the example of Christ and His cross.

The cross is an example, an intricate design, on which we lay the transparent parchment of our lives and sketch our feeble outlines.

The cross is to be followed, like tracks in the snow. We step high and sink in deep to the openings made by The One who has gone before.

Excruciare…Latin for “out of the cross.” Excruciating People—those who live life out of the cross. Christians—those who have accepted the invitation to live an excruciating life. The cross is a way of life…an ethos. Mores not just morals. The cross is a culture for pain-absorbing, peace-making, love-wielding, price-paying, cup-drinking people.

When I survey the wondrous cross, I am terrified. For what I see and what I know demands my soul, my life, my all.

(An excerpt from the current writing project of the jazz theologian)

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