In late February we started, what is known in the church calendar, as Lent. A time of preparation to welcome Easter and receive the good news of Jesus.
There is a wonderful story about an old priest who regales about 3 naughty boys in his church. They decided it would be fun to take it in turns to go to the priest and have a time of confession where they would confess to the most heinous, outrageous and, of course, completely made up crimes. Eventually the priest caught on with what was happening and seeing them all falling about laughing chased through the church after them. Two escaped but the third one was caught and made to go and walk all the way up to the cross and told to offer the simple words 'You did all this for me and I don't care' three times. He did it twice but couldn't finish the third time as he broke down in tears. The reason the old priest knew this story - because he was the third boy.
It is amazing what happens when we are actually confronted by the cross of Jesus. It is a symbol so commonplace that it scarcely lands with us. So familiar its horror and saving grace are hidden. But as we begin the season of Lent, as we take the symbolic journey all the way to the cross, what do we make of the cross of Jesus? Do we see it as simply an escape mechanism from the current world? Or do we see a loving God, break into humanity, to pour out His love for us in such a way that it changes the world, to be the Passover lamb to bring us out of darkness into a new life.
Are we able, as NT Wright notes, to look beyond some of the traditional and oversimplified visions of the cross to "glimpse again the fact, as the early Christians took it to be, that because of the cross a new world order has been launched, a royal revolution in which the followers of Jesus are committed to live and which they are committed to implement."
Take time this Lent to think on Jesus, think on His love poured out, and what this means for you.