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Communion 2009

Shame of the Cross

Originally scheduled for December 6

It is hard for the modern Christian to associate the Cross with the word “shame.” There are a number of reasons for this:

The death penalty is rare today; it was common then.

Criminals were seen as despicable human beings then; now they seem much more like victims of their environment.

Executions are private, veiled to the public today. Then, an execution was a form of entertainment as well as a warning.

The shame extended to the criminal’s family, as well. Today the mother of a serial killer receives a fair amount of sympathy, having such a personal disaster. In those days, people assumed she was just as evil.

 

Few of us approach the shame of the Cross. We are perfectly willing to hear the gentle Jesus speak to us; but we are quite uncomfortable when the suffering Savior speaks. We seek his comfort in times of suffering, but seldom share his suffering as the honor it is. If you think not, what is your reaction when you hear Christianity mocked? Do you shrink away quietly, or are you willing to proclaim your Lord? We can share his suffering; we can also share his shame.

 

Communion is a reminder of Christ’s conquest.

First, he conquered the shame of the Cross. Once a symbol of evil, it is now placed in honor in the church. It is no longer a symbol of shame, but of Christ’s sacrifice by which he conquered shame.

It is also a symbol of the conquest of sin. Before the Cross there was no true forgiveness; only the poor atonement of animal sacrifices. Now, the blood of Christ cleanses all who believe.

It is the symbol of the conquest of death. Without the Cross there is no Resurrection. We know that his resurrection is just the first; at his return, all the dead in Christ shall arise as well.

Shame, sin and death – Christ conquered them all. He did so at great price; he did so out of great love. As you partake, remember the shame – and the conquest.

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