Cling to the Cross
Blog – 9-7-16
I sang at a sweet church in Akron last Sunday, Immanuel Lutheran. As I sat in the front pew and readied my heart and mind for the service, I noticed a beautiful mural that was above the altar of the church. Here’s a picture of it:
I tried to research and find out more information about the picture, but I wasn’t able to find out anything about it other than the artist who painted it was Olof Grafstrom. He was from Switzerland and was commissioned to paint many church altar paintings in the early 1900’s.
As I looked at this image on Sunday morning, I couldn’t help but notice the woman at the bottom of the cross. I interpret this woman to be Mary Magdalene. Mary is a woman we don’t have any family history for, and all we really know is Jesus drove out seven demons from her. Some say she was a prostitute, others say she had mental illness, but she was definitely afflicted with something and was healed by Jesus. From that point on she followed Jesus and his disciples with extreme devotion.
Right up to the end, there she was, clinging with all her might to the cross. You could tell she didn’t want to let Jesus go.
There’s so much more to say about Mary that I will delve into in next week’s blog, but her
action portrayed in the painting of clinging to that lifeless piece of wood which held the one who had given her so much caused one of those aha moments for me. This faith thing isn’t as complicated as I try to make it sometimes. It’s really pretty simple.
Mary didn’t have to totally understand faith and tear it apart into tiny little pieces like we so often do in order to follow Christ. She just followed. She was grateful for the healing she received from Jesus, and she lived her life in gratitude for that freedom. Her childlike faith was not complicated, but it was incredibly genuine. It was Simple. Real. Passionate.
Could it really be that easy for us?
When a friend hurts our feelings…cling to the cross.
When we get a diagnosis we don’t want…cling to the cross.
When we lose our job…cling to the cross.
When we feel lonely and afraid…cling to the cross.
Whether life is good, bad, happy or sad, this image is a beautiful reminder of where our hearts and our lives need to be…clinging to the cross with all our might. Never letting go!
This position of humility and surrender is the place where we are at our best. It’s where deep faith is lived out. It’s the only place we will ever find true freedom.
I urge you to take a minute and look at this picture closely. Imagine yourself in Mary’s position, clinging to the cross with everything you have, I mean EVERYTHING.
Maybe it will help you see faith in a whole new way, just like it did for me!
Hugs and love,