Tonight my husband crawled into bed with my girls and told them the story of the crucifixion. I came home from the store, and he told me he’d told them. He said London cried. He cried.
I walked to their room and crawled into bed—my turn.
“Dad told you about the cross?” I asked. They nodded.
"I cried," London said. "I cried tears from my eyes… I don’t know if they were sad tears or happy tears."
It’s nine at night as I write this. I’m sitting on my porch under a string of lights listening to melancholy music thinking about London and her cross-colored tears.
I’m thinking of Crime and Punishment (my favorite book) and of Raskolnikov who found Christ at the cross…
"The darker the night, the brighter the stars,
The deeper the grief, the closer is God!”
I find it hard to look at the cross straight on…
From one angle, I look and I see God, the Beginning and the End, dying. I see the inky black of sin exploding and dripping and seeping until the whole world, even the Son is blotted out. “Darkness over the whole land…” I see depravity and desolation.
But if I step two feet to one side and tilt my head, I don’t see the sin so much. I see a savior. I see courage. I see an Atlas carrying the world’s sins, sins heavier than the world itself, on His noble, Deliverer shoulders.
Then I drop to my knees and look up and the view changes again. And I see my friend, my brother, suffering, sweating, bleeding, thirsting, gasping. And I love Him, and I wish He’d come down.
Last night I looked into John’s account of Jesus’ death and I saw Jesus as volunteer. Willing. Obedient. Submissive. And I raised my hand, ready to take up my cross, ready to be a Christian, a follower even (especially) unto death.
Sometimes I look at the cross and I just feel guilty. Sometimes I look and feel thankful. Sometimes I’m confused.
Most of the time I feel completely and utterly unworthy.
And when I try to take it all in, to feel everything at once, I end up crying like London, not sure if the tears are happy or sad.
A cross is an intersection, where one thing meets another.
THE cross is THE intersection. Of death and life. Sin and holiness. Light and dark. Love and hate. God and man.
It is explosive and magnetic.
Should you ever find yourself overwhelmed or confused or crying inscrutable tears at the foot of the cross, know you’re just where you ought to be doing just what you should.
Last night I attended a Good Friday service. We read John’s account of the crucifixion together, aloud. As we read the words, “he bowed his head and gave up his spirit,” every soul in the room went silent as every knee suddenly and simultaneously dropped to the floor.
We knelt in thick quiet.