by Rev Douglas P Brauner
The Cross of Christ is Peculiar.
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“As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.”
Galatians 6:14 New Living Translation
It’s been fifteen years since the largest wildfire in Colorado’s recorded history burned over 138,000 acres. This fire, known as the Hayman Fire, made its way through much of Lutheran Valley Ranch and Retreat (LVR). This tree was killed by the fire and over the past years has lost other branches to form this gnarly cross.
Though I’m not a dedicated fan of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it looks like one of the trees from the movie adaptation of the books.
However, that image is not what I first saw when I hiked past its bony remains. I immediately saw a cross, a cross that had been formed by death; a gnarly cross. This is not a symmetrical cross, planed and sanded smooth. This is not a stain glass cross or a forged metal cross. This cross, formed by the ravages of fire and time, speaks the truth about Christ death. It was a pain-filled death. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.” Psalm 22:1-2 English Standard Version
Yet it is also a cross of hope, knowing that Christ’s death is the end of my death. The psalmist continues, “Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.” Psalm 22:3 English Standard Version
Though the world will not understand the gnarly cross of Christ, it is through this cross that our interest in the world’s ways has been crucified. It is through this cross that we are now interested in God’s way. His way of death to self and life in him. It is the gnarly way of the cross.
Copyright Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, Colorado