We're a week-and-a-half into the Lenten season. Most years I try to read a book that will take me deeper into the spiritual journey of the road Jesus walked to the cross. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don't.
I was recently asked if I have any special memories of a cross. The only thing that came to mind was a book I read close to twenty years ago called On a Hill Too Far Away (Putting the Cross Back into the Center of our Lives) by John Fischer. Any time a book stays in my mind that long it's worth sharing with others. I'm rereading it now and loving every impact-filled word.
Every scripture the preacher preaches, every word the congregation receives, must pass through that cross. It's always in view and this cross isn't pretty. It's rough and unforgiving and one might get a splinter if they run their hand over to it. One's clothes might snag if they stand too close. It is an obstacle in every service held in that sanctuary. Brides and grooms must figure out where they'll stand and if the wedding dress will get caught on the rough wood. It affects everything that goes on in that building.
Isn't that what the cross of Jesus is supposed to do? Shouldn't it affect everything? The 2000 years since the crucifixion have softened the rough timbers, like a rock smoothed beautiful by sand and water. But it doesn't change the reality of what it was. An instrument of execution.
How can we bring the cross into the center of our lives? Do we dare let it affect us in its intended ways? The cross of Jesus is more than a symbol of Christianity. It's a game changer. An entire life changer.
I encourage you to read On a Hill Too Far Away. It isn't available in bookstores because of its age, but you can order a copy online from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. It's by far one of my favorite Lenten books and well worth the read.