Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Cross V

There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to on the right hand and the other on the of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

The arms of the cross point starkly, left and right.

The hands that reached to caress a child's face, to touch a leper, to heal a blind man, to wash the dusty feet of his friends --now, red with blood, tortured, cramped--these hands are still extended in love. Even now at the time of dying, Jesus' hands reach toward the two desperate men.
They have a choice, a choice even more stark than the arms of the cross on which they are pinned. Two sinners, lost and broken and now dying. One, even at the end, is cruel, jeering at one who is writhing in pain like himself. His hate and bitterness have grown until he is consumed. Even as death waits, he mocks and refuses the offer of love. The other, in desperation, cries out to the Man in the center. He knows who this is. "LORD, remember me..." and he is assured that his faith will bring him safely into the next life with God.

The choice is still offered today. Sometimes it seems that the love of God causes mankind to run. Which way will it be? Will you run from him? Or will you run to the Lord and receive his love and grace?

Dear Master,
Grant that we may run, always, to you. We receive your offer of love again, again and yet again. Amen

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