At our Good Friday service last night we were challenged by the hymn”The Old Rugged Cross”. As I thought about the hymn I thought about working with carpenters on various projects. I thought about watching them select wood for the project and at least once I was told to throw a piece away because it was too warped to be any good. My first thought about the song was that Jesus’ Cross was probably made from a very poor piece of wood. I would guess that the Roman soldiers had little concern for the straightness of the beans on which prisoners were to be hung.I thought about the twists in the wood continuing Jesus’arms where they were pinned awkwardly over the warped beam. I thought about one arm raised up higher than the other, making it more difficult to push up to breathe.
But then my mind drifted to another topic, how rough the Cross would have been. The large, piercing splinters protruding everywhere in the surface. As I thought about this I remembered a couple times large splinters sank deep in my skin. The pain they caused, and the throbbing even after the was removed.
It was at this point I was hit by the song again. “I will cling to the old rugged cross”. If I cling to this torture device, I am sure to be riddled with splinters. If I cling to the cross off Jesus I will suffer my own pain. I will suffer along with Christ the entire time I cling to the cross. Yet, I must cling to the cross. The cross is the very thing that leads me to the crown. But no, Good does not reward the selfish, God will not reward my greed of clinging to the cross for reward. Then why must I cling to the cross, because it was there that I cry “Love Divine! What hast Thou done! My Lord, my love is crucified”. Here is gone and it is that cross that suffering, that pain which marks the road to him. I must continue to cling to the cross and deal with the pain of the splinters, after all they pale in comparison to his sufferings. Continuing to hold fat to the cross is the only way to cling to him.