Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Oh to Be Like Him...

Our Sunday school teacher shared this challenging poem in our class and in the midst of the holiday pressure to give the most expensive presents, make the tastiest food, and display the largest nativity scene, it's important to remember the real Gift of Christmas. Let Jesus be your glory this Christmas season as we celebrate the sacrifice He so humbly made!

Litany of Humility
By Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val 
 
Oh Jesus meek and humble of heart, hear me.
Deliver me, Jesus, from the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honoured,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebuke,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected.
And, Jesus grant me the desire that others might be loved more than I,
That others might be more esteemed than I,
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others may become holier than I provided that I become as holy as I should.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

You Are Loved...

God created me and you for His pleasure and perfectly in His image. He was delighted with His creation and saw that it was good. But... we messed it up. Consumed with sin, we were no longer fit to associate with God much less to be loved by Him. But God loved us... I can't understand why or how but He did (and still does). In fact, He cared SO much that He sent His own Son down (literally killed Him on a cross) so that we sinful, undeserving, creatures, could live and worship Him.

In my mind I see a picture like this:

He looks at me with pleading eyes as He staggers under the weight af a heavy, dirty, cross meant for me. He is taking my pain, my guilt, my shame...

Inwardly I rebel at the thought of punishing someone so severely... I would never be so harsh as to kill someone on a cross. I'm really not that bad at all...

But when Jesus looks at me with those eyes of His. Purer and stronger with love than any I've ever seen, I feel dirty... Sinful, wretched, worthless, whatever you want to call it but I simply don't make the cut! He, the spotless, perfect, Son of God, is stooping low enough to carry a cross. One that He doesn't even need to carry... The pain and quiet determination in His eyes speaks volumes as He pleads with me to come and kneel at His feet where His blood can drip over me... Washing, cleansing, healing, my heart.

But as I consider it I think of my schoolmates who would make fun of me if I even mentioned Jesus' name and then  mocking visions of giving up a party to go to church, and getting up in the wee hours of morning to do devotions float through my brain.

I look back at the cross, covered in blood, carried by a beaten, bruised, and broken man. The Holy Son of God...

It's irrational, ridiculous really! There's no way I would let a man die for me... I'll make it on my own... He'll see..

Angered by the thought of someone even thinking that they would need to die for me, I turn and spit in the face of my Saviour before shouldering my heavy, black, pack, and resuming my journey down the Road of Life. I travel for miles, running quickly, trying to drown out the memory of the man carrying a cross. As the days pass my frustration mounts as I make mistake after mistake and the weight of the bag labelled sin cuts into my shoulder. At weak moments I allow myself to entertain short visions of the man at the cross and His fascinating eyes. The sorrow of His bent figure.. The piercing crown of thorns on His head.... The blood pouring from His wounds... I think back to the days of innocence... When every day was exciting, forgiveness came easily, and the pack on my back was small. Finally, in utter exhaustion, I take a close look at the pack slung over my shoulder. Memories of the lies, hypocrisy, and hopelessness of my past threaten to engulf me and I turn my face away in shame. It's then that I remember the face of Jesus... I debate a minute, than turn and head back in the direction I came from... As the cross slowly comes in view, my heart begins to pound, and I start running in desperation. The pack weighs me down and as I come to a halt at the foot of the cross, I drop to my knees and fling it to the ground.

I'm afraid to look up because I'm not fit to be seen and that bag of garbage I just threw at the feet of God are sure to disqualify me..

Then I hear a soft voice say my name.. So gently I'm afraid to breath but with a compassion that compels me to look upward. His eyes are like a magnet and they light up with joy as He says, "Rise up my child, Your sins are forgiven." Slightly baffled my eys fall to the pack I flung down minutes before...

I can't believe what I see! The pack: black, stained, and filthy is covered! Drenched in blood!

I look back at Jesus and He smiles as He explains, "You sins are under my blood, I have taken Your punishment. Child, you can go free!"