Thursday, March 28, 2013
The Ugly and the Beautiful
My children’s bible had three pictures in it. One was of the crucifixion, and, I confess, it mesmerized me, so I flipped to it often and stared long and hard. Baffled, I would wonder,
Who could inflict such gruesome torture?
What’s worse, it looked pre-meditated, which made me wonder something else entirely:
When He could have called ten thousand angels?
I graduated from my children’s bible never knowing what to do with that troublesome image. At least I didn’t have to look at it anymore. That is, until Easter week rolls around each year, when I grapple with these questions anew and revert to the little girl with inadequate answers.
The cross makes me squirm.
I never know what to do in the days leading to it. Living ordinarily seems all wrong. I attempt to observe, acknowledge what unspeakable, singular thing Jesus did on that cross, but that makes me wholly aware that I’m injured beyond recognition by my hideous sin and gross need.
I am undeserving.
Every feeble attempt at a response feels unworthy, as it should, I suppose. I am undone, at a loss for word or deed. My inhibitions are stripped away by the shocking spectacle, and I do the unthinkable: I draw near to the bloody cross with the beaten Man, the One unrecognizable as God, and yet He is.
It’s all so ugly and beautiful.
Not knowing what else to do, I fall flat before Him; I am rendered righteous by Holy.
And I stare, baffled, uninhibited, drawing nearer still.