Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Day 36 of Lent :: Outside the Gate

“And they brought Him to the place Golgotha,
which is translated, Place of a Skull.”
Mark 15:22

“I want to recover the truth that Jesus was not crucified on an altar between two candlesticks,
but on a garbage heap at a crossroads of the world . . .

...where soldiers gambled and cynics talked smut.”
George McCloud

Reflection: Sit in hushed silence with God today, enjoying Him, cherishing these moments as precious gifts to you and blessings to Him. There is sorrow in the cross, but also great joy. The anticipation of joy is what enabled Jesus to endure the horror of Calvary. Read the following quote slowly, and offer it as a prayer (or give your own) to the Lord based on the joy you sense as you consider the cross today. In your own mind, stand at the top of Mount Calvary. See the crowds coming and going below. See the massive Temple and the beautiful city of Jerusalem. Hear the conversations of those who’ve come up the hill. Watch Jesus take the final steps to the
top. Imagine His emotions, thoughts, and fears.

Carefully consider the following verses:

“For the bodies of those animals whose blood is
brought into the holy place
by the high priest as an offering for sin,
are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also,
that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered
outside the gate.
So, let us go out to Him outside the camp,
bearing His reproach. “
Hebrews 13:11-13

Reflection: See Jesus suffering outside the gate of Jerusalem. Go to him, bearing (figuratively carrying) his reproach (suffering, reviling, upbraiding). This simply means to feel within and have a deep appreciation for all He endured, willing to suffer yourself, if it will further His kingdom.

After a while, write a few words expressing your thoughts and compassion to Christ.

Prayer: Lord, you who own the cattle on a thousand hills now suffer reproach on one of them. The scent of your sacrifice is a stench in the nostrils of those who do not understand, those who look the other way, those who clutch their rebellion to their blackened heart. But to me Lord, it is sweet -- sometimes too strong for my sinful soul – but sweet nonetheless. Help me to breathe deeply that your aroma of death might finally permeate my heart of hearts.*

*Prayer by Tricia McCary Rhodes in Contemplating the Cross, 98.

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