Summary: Providing an opportunity for us to reflect on the cross of Jesus and of the Lord's table.
At the Cross
August 7, 2011 John 19:17-42
I spent a good couple of hours last Monday floating down the Pembina river. It was a beautiful sunny day, the river was warm, and so we set out. If you’re not familiar with the Pembina, it is about an hour west, just past Wabamun lake, in a deep gorge that is incredibly beautiful. It’s a wide river, but mostly calm and mostly shallow, with only a few spots of white water the highest being maybe a foot, a perfect floating river. I rode in this – a little $1.99 donut, which I glanced at more than once wondering if I was crazy to trust my life to this thin plastic, and wondering what I would do if I happened to knick a little stick…
But it worked out well – I wiggled in nice and deep, to keep my center of balance low, and was thankful about 8 or 10 times for two things: first that the large rocks in the river had been made nice and smooth by hundreds of years of water flowing over the top, and second that God designed our rear ends to be mostly padding. My plan worked well, up until the end.
Near our take out point, the water got really shallow and was running over rocks that hadn’t been under water for hundreds of years, because the river was higher than normal. So I decided to abandon the float and walk the rest of the way. I didn’t have great footwear for walking on wet, slippery, rocks, and my legs felt a little funny after a couple hours squished up in my little donut. Now, I didn’t fall, but I got pretty close. A couple or three times. An old pair of Crocs sandals, sharp, wet rocks, in flowing water, shaky legs, all add up to a bit of a tenuous journey.
I read Pastor Sue’s sermon from last week, about building on a strong spiritual foundation of believing in Jesus, and was reminded about how it felt walking on those slippery rocks. How it was tentative, how I had to test each footstep before putting my weight on it – and even then not really sure it was going to hold until I actually did put my weight on it. The bit of panic when my foot did slip, and I had to stabilize myself. And I later reflected, I really wouldn’t want to live life like that.
I want a firm foundation to stand my life upon. Something that will hold fast, that won’t slip, that won’t threaten to sweep my legs out from under me and hurl me head first into a pile of rocks.
I find that in the cross.
I think God is up to something among us. I’ve been on holidays, but in touch enough to have a positive excitement about the moving of God’s Spirit among us, drawing us together, taking us deeper, and sending us out as His Servants. I sense a new beginning, and am excited to see God answering our prayers that we might know Him and love Him more. And at that beginning is a re-looking at some of the foundations, the basics, the essentials.
And that is why I want to focus our attention on the cross of Jesus today, and on the Lord’s table where, in the words of Paul, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again. (1 Cor 11:26).