My church community experienced a tragedy this week. A young life lost – a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a friend to many.
We are left with questions, pain, sorrow, heart ache. It’s hard to know what to do. How to put one foot infront of the other. How to comfort, how to heal.
Even amidst the brokenness and shock and confusion there is one thing I cannot stop seeing. It meets me at every pause, around every corner, along every road. Wherever I turn I see the shape that is my only hope, to which I hold onto even if by a thread, the symbol of love that goes far beyond my understanding yet reaches to the deepest part of this anxious heart. Those two simple lines, intersecting one another at the perpendicular. The beautiful, radical, worlds-colliding cross.
I took a walk this weekend, under a blue and clouded sky. I walked down a gravel path that curved alongside the ocean. The air was bitterly cold against my face as I blinked away the tears welling in my eyes. Feeling all of these things deeply, questions, of which I had many, yet answers nowhere to be seen. The sun, slightly hidden, poured down in rays of light. Hitting my face every so often. Hope? Is that you?
At the end of the path there is a large Greek orthodox church. The sight of the golden cross atop its roof, first hidden by trees, came into view. Then the second cross, and the third. Is your love present, here? In this pain and loss? As I have pleaded so many times before, please, please, help this unbelief. It weighs on me so heavily. Making me doubt everything that I so desperately want to believe.
The path passes beside a marina, the boats are docked on land and wrapped in tarp for the winter. As I turned at the end of the path and gazed across the bay to the array of sailboats, there were at least 50 of them side by side, I was taken aback. Each mast and adjoining poles in cruciform. One, after the other, after the other.
I see that cross in every window frame and grille. In the roads at every four way stop. On bridges and every power poll that lines the highway. Rows and rows on electrical towers and in every lattice fence and gantry for road signs – crosses placed on their sides, waiting to be picked up and carried, by you, by me.
I see it in every bird that soars over me, wings outstretched. In every airplane. On every weather vane. In the stitching of my son’s quilt, in the wainscotting in my oldest’s bedroom and the trim adorning the walls of our house. I see it, over and over, in the lines of a plaid shirt, in the t’s of every sentence I read. The beautiful, radical, worlds-colliding cross.
The cross. His love. Everywhere. Always. At each and every turn. Reminding us: “I’m here.” I am here. I am here. I am here.
The cross, intersecting beams, intersecting my life, your life, if only we would allow it to. Intersecting every heart, every conversation, every tear, every burst of laughter, every friendship and marriage, every fight, every handshake, every embrace.
The cross, bringing what is Holy down to earth, into the palms of our very hands. Even deeper, into our souls.
The cross, beams stretching wide. The crux – the essence, the Heart, the core. The connecting piece. The strength (yours and mine). The one and only power that can stitch us together and make us whole.
The beautiful, radical, worlds-colliding cross.
That Love is calling to us now. The “us” we are right now – full of fear, of being judged. Come anyway. Doubtful, shattered, full of pain. Yes, you, dearest child, come. Proud, angry, greedy. Yes, you, come. Just as you are. Come scared. Come shaking and trembling. Come grieving. Come fuming and close-fisted. The love of the cross doesn’t wait. It doesn’t need to. It understands.
For He, too, was despised and rejected. Laughed at and mocked. He understands. Pain is no stranger to him. To His heart, his hands, his feet.
This Love came for this moment. It is arms outstretched, wide enough for all. Strong enough to hold the weight of us and every single burden we carry. It came to make us whole. To make us Holy. It is veils teared – relationship restored. Life resurrected. It is our blade of light, Heaven come down, piercing through the darkness we find ourselves in so often. Pick it up, it becomes our sword.
I am here, the Love of the cross says. I am here, I am here, I am here.
Follow me. Do it scared.
But follow me.