Love is sacrifice…and sacrificed.

by Craig on March 27, 2012

This, and the other drawings of the crucifixion (below) are taken from an inspired book of drawings entitled "He Was One of Us" by Rien Poortvliet (it's one of my most treasured possessions)

 

This is the vehicle of Your death, Lord.

The hammer is raised.
Your heart races…

soon it won’t be able to.

But now it quickens as You anticipate…
pounding of hammer. to. nail.

It might seem to take forever for the hammer to drop, but it is driven through.

Can You stop Yourself from crying out?

Your hand wants to clench but it can’t.
You want to pull it away…
but You can’t…

and that’s just the first nail.

Then the other hand…

twice the pain…
because the first wave has yet to subside.
The second nail…is driven in.

It’s likely the wrist between the bones, not the palm. But it honestly doesn’t matter.

You must think what we all think…
when things are unbearably hard…
when things seem they can’t get worse…
but we really suspect they will.

Because You are human…God.

Maybe the most sensitive area of the human body is the area where they nail Your feet.

It’s a larger nail…
a more massive hammer…
a longer arc to the swing.

The nails hold You fast.
You become one with the cross.

The One without sin becomes one with our sin.

You hear orders shouted…

Levo Crux.

You have grown up hearing this language of Rome…Latin.
Maybe it gives You a chance to brace for what’s next.

“Raise the Cross”

Rope grasped by blood stained hands lift the crucifix high.

It wrests all of Your breath from Your longs.

You are suspended in air, the cross twisting as Roman hands maneuver it into position.

They have a job do…
like butchers…
with a carcass of meat on a hook.

They don’t think much about the carcass.

And then…

Summito Crux.

“Lower the cross”

Tired Roman arms are all too eager to let go of the ropes. The cross smashes unrestrained into a hole dug into the earth. When the bottom of the cross hits the bottom of the hole…

I can’t think of the agony heaped upon agony.

And do You then remember Your own words?

Those two Bible verses that we all forget come just before the really famous one…

source

And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. John 3:14, 15

And we have these seven phrases You uttered from the Cross…

Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)
Truly, I say to You, today You will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)
Woman, behold Your son: behold Your mother. (John 19:26-27)

My God, My God, why have You forsaken me. (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34)

I thirst. (John 19:28)
It is finished. (John 19:30)
Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit. (Luke 23:46)

But that one in the middle really gets me.

You quote Scripture from the Cross.

I need to consider that….

Anyway…I’m recounting the journey of my 48 hour Lenten fast…meditating on the Stations of the Cross. The journaling of the fast began here – and if you’d like, you can follow the posts one after the other…to this one. They’re all short – a breeze to read – a little longer if you like gazing at pretty pictures ツ

God bless, thank you , and please come back.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Felecia March 27, 2012 at 11:06 am

How wrenched is my heart. Yes, that He quotes from Psalm 22 in order that scripture be fulfilled. Still looking out for His Father’s interests. Knowing His mission. Securing His Father’s will is done. I spend much of these upcoming days in heartache, sorrow and passionate joy while I meditate on and pray and wonder in awe and grow in deeper gratitude for my Lord.
Thank you for this lovely post. God has used it (you) as my catalyst for my Passion Week posts.
In His Love,
Felecia

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Craig March 27, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Felecia, I’ve often wondered if the Our Lord was just reciting pertinent Scripture while he was on the cross – and in constant prayer at the same time – at least as much is his body would allow because his body would be betraying him on the cross. And I’ve thought, maybe he was just on Psalm 22 at the time – and maybe it was particularly painful time – and maybe he didn’t mean to say it so loud.

I was talking to a seminary student while I was at the seminary library the other day we discussed this – and it’s interesting that he quoted the Psalm in Aramaic – his spoken language – not Hebrew. Like he was speaking from his heart, his OWN words – not merely quoting. It’s like the Pharisees accused him of – not relying on the authority of the Torah – but his own authority – he IS the Word – of course he would quot it in Aramaic if he were praying it through. Oh the mysteries we won’t know until we get where we’re going. Thank you Felecia for spurring my thought on – thank you for inspiring ME! And God bless and keep you and your two “e”s.

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thefisherlady March 27, 2012 at 11:18 am

Craig… this is so beautifully written… His words so beautifully spoken
His gift… so graciously given
Thanks for pouring out all this. He is indeed our life…

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Craig March 27, 2012 at 5:41 pm

thank you Susan – I know how very well YOU use words – so I take this as high praise – and maybe my writing IS getting better – if it is, it’s mostly because of reading the blogs that I heart. It’s rubbing off on me. Yes, I say with all humility, HE IS in my life – I really am not me without HIM. Thank you for noticing – I hope I make it obvious in my real life as well as my online life – I think I do. Anyway, thank you Susan, and God bless and keep you.

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Katie March 27, 2012 at 10:43 pm

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken me.” – it gets me because he cries out the same way I cry out in times of my own agony, yet I know because of Christ on the cross taking my sins, that God truly has NOT forsaken me even if I feel that way because feelings are NOT the Truth of God. Jesus truly felt as I feel at times — and as painful as this was for Christ it actually brings comfort to my heart to realize that Jesus understands my feelings more than I can fathom.

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Craig March 28, 2012 at 11:31 am

Amen! Our Lord truly felt as you feel sometimes – as you feel right now. It’s that whole way he IS empathy. God has FELT everything that every human being has EVER felt – except sin. He gets where you are right now Katie – he really really really does. I heart that about him – I absolutely HEART that about him. God bless you Katie – hang in there!

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Craig March 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Amen! Our Lord truly felt as you feel sometimes – as you feel right now. It’s that whole way he IS empathy. God has FELT everything that every human being has EVER felt – except sin. He gets where you are right now Katie – he really really really does. I heart that about him – I absolutely HEART that about him. God bless you Katie – hang in there!

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Katie March 29, 2012 at 12:09 pm

hahahaha…. guess God wanted me to see this twice for the encouragement. Thanks Craig.

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Craig March 31, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Maybe so Katie – I know HOW my comment went through twice – I remember the moment. But I didn’t KNOW that it DID. But maybe you’re right – you deserve to be encouraged. ツ

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Kris March 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I’m in the throws of some hard lessons, some scalding refining myself these days and your words today, Christ’s words from the cross…. balm on my burns, my friend. I can’t say more just now. There’s such a small comment box and such a deluge of ‘stuff’ that threatens to burst forth…. I’ll (hopefully) be writing about it soon in my little corner, but for the moment, just know that this encouraged, challenged and blessed me. God is rediculously good.

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Craig March 28, 2012 at 2:19 pm

gosh, how he refines those of us he loves. We don’t like it. I know I don’t like it. The thorns, the pruning, cutting off the dead branches, allowing us to be purified in trial as like gold – but it’s hot, and melty, and not at all comfortable. But I know I need it- I know, my sister, that WE need it – if we want to be more like Him. I’m sorry for your trial – I just prayed for faith, and courage, and for better eyes, to see THROUGH the trial, as you look AT the trial. Kind of everything I’d pray for myself if I were going through one – although, come to think of it, I can’t quite remember when I last WASN”T going through one – anyway, thank you as always for your kind words Krissy, thank you, and God bless and keep you and yours.

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kristi March 28, 2012 at 12:52 pm

I’m sitting here feeling unworthy to comment on this….You’ve made me stop and REALLY contemplate Christ’s pain – nail by nail – reminding me that He was human and made the ultimate sacrifice for all. Reading your words made me FEEL His pain, it was physically uncomfortable, which is more than what I ever experience on Palm Sunday in my own church. Powerful! Thank you.

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Craig March 28, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Kristi, thank you for your gracious words – really – thank you. I wrote this going through a fast – no big deal – just a 48-hour fast for Lent – my first one ever. With the depth of the emotion that I was able to feel, I give credit to God, and I think that fast helped. So God gets the credit – the fast get some credit – and there may be just a smidge left for me, and I’ll take it – but only because once I took credit for everything, including things I had no right to take credit for – I craved the spotlight – I craved the compliment – now, I shy away from it, and have the hardest time believing good words spoken by really nice people – it’s a loud and negative voice I battle daily in my head. But I know you mean your words – and THAT means a lot to me, really it does. So I’ll take that little smidge of credit, thank you very much. Anyway, God bless and keep you Kristi.

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Christina March 28, 2012 at 1:01 pm

His being forsaken is the greatest sacrifice. Your words coupled with the art spoke deeply to me. As always, thank you!

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Craig March 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm

that’s one of the things I heart most about blogging – it takes me as long to find the pictures as it does to write the first draft of ANY post – I heart searching for just the right one – and there is so much good art on the web – and in this case from a very special book. And the art DOES amplify the words. That’s one of the reasons I blog in this community, as opposed to one that’s dominated by men – men don’t get pictures! See a typical post written by a man it might have one little tiny picture in it and a whole bunch of text. I heart pictures – glad you heart them too. Anyway, thank you Christina, thank you – and God bless you my bloggy friend!

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Nikki March 28, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Oh, you get it, Craig. So blessed to read your words and know you get it.
the pain. the sacrifice. the desire to fulfill. the love exuded. ugh. I’m getting all teary here!
and that’s always how I get when I read the Psalm or that verse in Matthew or Mark. Because Jesus was the only one God has ever forsaken. We may think He does forsake us at times, but let’s be real. He NEVER has. He has NEVER let me down! And my Jesus…is the only one who has never deserved it. thought of me and endured it. . . I just …
I’ve been trying to blog about it for weeks. the words won’t come because there aren’t any to express that kind of love. and how much we don’t deserve it. what grace!
guess I’ll have to direct people over here because you. you get it. 😉
hugs to you! thanks for stirring my heart today!

(holy novel I’m so sorry, but I had to tell you I ADORE those drawings! I have to look those up. amazing!)

so blessed by you!

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Craig March 31, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Nikki, for a long time I I resisted the idea that the Father actually “abandoned” our Lord. Because I heart the theology of Trinity – I heart that God is three who are one – but only one.so I cringe a little bit at anyone stating a thought that hints that God could anytime be separated from GOD. But turning away at the point our Lord took upon himself the sins of the world – isn’t separation – though I can see how our Lord could have felt infinitely abandoned. and thank you for the thought of directing people over here – anyone who writes would heart hearing something like that. I know I did!

Thank you for your novel Nikki, I know some bloggers don’t like long comments – but to me, it shows that someone engaged in what they were reading, and cared enough to engage with me. Thank you. And those drawings from the book – the way I FOUND that book is a little miracle unto itself – and it’s long out of print – not sure you’ll be able to find it. It tells the entire story of the life of our Lord, but the pictures focus on those around him – and NOT him. Anyway, God bless and keep you Nikki!

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Michelle March 28, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Every time I read or hear a telling of the sacrifice of Christ, it gets me. Every single time. We have the Stations of the Cross at church on Maundy Thursday, and at this stage I am going…..but I don’t know if I can…..it gets me every time.

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Craig March 31, 2012 at 3:15 pm

as I go through the years, Michelle, I know more and more of why they call it – the Passion. and maybe we should run through the stations of the cross a lot more often – because it DOES “get us every time”. Thank you Michelle – I hope things went well during the time I didn’t see you here very often – I have always hearted so much having you read me. God bless and keep you. ツ

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TLC July 10, 2012 at 12:13 am

I stumbled upon your website today and was so impressed that I linked to it from my blog. I would love for you to link back to my first blog article if it impresses you as you have me. Thank you
http://www.makeitlastforever.net

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Dan February 27, 2013 at 2:28 am

My priest had advised me to meditate on the 11th stations, and I didn’t know where to start, so what everyone does now! googled it and stumbled upon your site here, thank you, it has been a powerful writing and pictures for me.

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