Fear in Love

6 Nov

Embrace the cross

Christ arrives right on time to make this [his generously prepared blessings] happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 5:6-8  The Message

I’m not sure if I can make all this connect for you, as it’s so big and fresh in my heart right now.  We just finished a long holiday weekend that we spent in the mountains.  It was refreshing both physically and spiritually.  Part of our time was spent with our indigenous “family” of eleven years celebrating Day of the Dead.  In Ecuador the holiday is a day to “catch up” with the ones who are no longer with us but have a life in a different world. People pack lunches of traditional food, flowers and offerings and head for the cemeteries where they spend the day as a family talking, eating, and performing routine maintenance on the grave site. Sounds ghoulish, perhaps, but it has more the feeling of a 4th of July picnic than anything else.

What struck me full force was seeing a little boy leaning on a cross on top of a mausoleum.  Somehow it penetrated deeply in my heart, that this is how close I need to be to the cross.  Taking up my cross. . . embracing the cross. . . focusing on the love of God manifested through the cross.

I was studying the cross this morning and came across the following, from notes taken at a retreat given by Mike Adkins more than twenty years ago:

Three Marks of False Love

A.  The mark of limitation.  (Something is withheld)

B.  The mark of control.  (Manipulating people)

C.  The mark of detachment.  (Self-sufficient, unimpaired, unhurt)

How easy is it to fall into exhibiting false love when we are fearful?  We think:  Will they ever change?  Will they reject me?  Will they do what I want? I know that I’ve been guilty of false love.  But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.

Three Marks of True Love

A.  Limitless self-giving.  (Jesus)

B.  Risk-taking with no certainty of success.  (Jesus)

C.  A vulnerability which is easily hurt.  (Jesus)

This is God’s love and we need to embrace the cross which is the symbol of such an amazing love and sacrifice.  Hold on.  Don’t let go.

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