|“Sacrifice, Jesus’ Gift to Eve” by e. wierenga|
We had a guest speaker on Sunday, and she was talking about Mexico, how only 2 percent of Mexico City believes in Jesus and how many of them believe in Mary more than they do her son.
How they pilgrimage on their knees, for miles and miles, just to make it to the virgin’s statue because they believe the more suffering they go through, the greater the chance that she will listen to them.
I looked down at my knees, at the black cotton pants covering them and the speaker says some of the Mexicans worship Mary because they don’t like the image of Jesus, hanging on a cross, weak and helpless.
We stand and sing then, and the church banners say “Redeemed” and there’s a purple robe woven around the cross and the pastor is dressed in purple and it’s a color-coded Christianity.
And I wonder if I would buy him if I could; if I would purchase a Jesus who was made in China and shelved in a box in Walmart. I could set him up in our living room for Christmas and Easter, and listen to his pre-recorded, commercialized messages. Messages like “If you do this and this, you will prosper.” And would I make offerings to that image of Jesus? (Do I?)
I don’t know that I’ve truly looked the bloodied Jesus in the face. The Passion of the Christ wrecked me. I don’t like thinking about Jesus on the cross. It’s uncomfortable and hard and sad. Sitting in a pew is hard enough, cushioned as it is, and I can’t wait to go home after church and change into my sweats and enjoy my Sabbath.
My Jesus all nicely packaged in a purple sash and ready to be pulled out of his box whenever it’s convenient for me.
I know the virgin-worshiping Mexicans may be missing the point but I’m worried I am too. I know I can’t earn God’s favor no matter how many miles I crawl on my knees but sometimes I do things like take in two extra boys for a year and then expect God to bless me for it.
But I’m forgetting that Jesus didn’t just hang on a cross all mangled and broken for me. He rose for me, and all of this serving him and giving my life to him is in thanks for that.
He doesn’t owe me anything.
I owe him everything.
I don’t want to serve a Walmart Savior. I don’t want to serve a God who’s made in my image.
So I’m crawling up the hill of Calvary. And I’m staring at the cross and finding Christ there, nailed there, messy there, dead. And then, as I keep looking, I see him open his eyes, and climb down from that cross, and I let him hold me. This broken, bloody Savior.
And together, we rise.
*linking with Ann today
1. link up a post (old or new) that relates to redemption.
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so won’t you join us, as we “walk each other home”? (ram dass)
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