Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Blinding Cross

In choir, we are singing a song titled, “Out of Ashes.” I LOVE this song because I feel like my life has been raised out of the ashes. The song says, “out of ashes into freedom, out of dying into life, see the joy that’s set before us in the blinding cross of Christ.” I first learned this song last year, when I was in ashes. All I knew was death, bondage, and pain. We are singing this song again this year. I am now out of ashes in freedom. Jesus took my ashes and traded them for beauty. As a result of this transformation, this song has a more complete meaning. I was the weary mourner, lifting prayers from my heap of ashes. I was the sinner, crying out for saving. Jesus met me with mercy, hope, and righteousness restored. He set the stage in His resurrection for me to follow Him out of ashes.

Ashes are the leftovers of sacrifices that have been burned on the altar. They are the remnant of loss. They are the aftermath following destruction. They are the rubble that we find ourselves in when our walls have come crashing down. Ashes represent loss. Ashes are found in times of mourning. Job considered himself dust and ashes after he lost everything that he had. He sat among the ashes, scraping his flaming flesh sores with broken pottery. Ashes are the result of burning. They are no longer flaming. There is no life left in them. They are useless. They are to be brushed away.

Christ rose out of ashes. The ashes of His sacrifice were His dead body of the first and second day. They were the sealed tomb. They were laden with hopelessness and despair. Out of ashes, Christ rose to a place of victory over death. Only through Christ can we have hope in our ashes.
Old Testament believers would rub their faces with ashes to symbolize mourning and grief. Isaiah says that the Lord will exchange our ashes for a garland of beauty. My mourning has turned into dancing. Out of ashes, I have risen into freedom. Out of dying, I have been born into life.

Hang in there. This is my favorite part: “See the joy that’s set before us in the blinding cross of Christ.”

You know when someone takes a picture right in your face, and you see a spot in front of your field of vision for what seems like ever? Or when you look into a bright light and you see the image of the light even when you look away? I had a new revelation of Christ in “light” of this image tonight. In this illustration of the “blinding cross,” I see a blazing image of the cross, so bright that it is like a camera flash, but infinitely brighter. It is so blinding, that no matter where you look after you have looked into it, you see its image blazed into your vision. The burning image of the Cross overshadows everything that you look at, and therefore, everything that you see is viewed in the shadow of the cross. This is so cool. The problem (well, not really a problem) with this is that the camera flash residue fades from our field of vision. So does the cross when we forget to look back upon it. In this analogy, the believer must continually take her focus back to the cross, which will blind her to the point where nothing else matters. Everywhere she will look, she will see the blazed image of the cross.

Only the Christ-follower can see the joy in ashes and the blinding light of a cross. We can only experience this joy, hope, mercy, and righteousness, because we know what rises out of ashes. We know too that the only way that we can live is through the ashes.

1 comment:

  1. Was googling the net about "the blinding cross" reference in the song (Have even sent a message to the songwriter to ask his take on it), but your description is very good. Thanks for sharing this thought.