-From the hymn The Old Rugged Cross, words and music by Geo. Bernard, 1913
When I arise before dawn on a Sunday morning to prepare myself spiritually for my Bible school class, I always think of this well know hymn and it's deep meaning. I guess it comes from my fond memory of my dear departed aunt, a true Christian in every thought and deed and one who had a great impact on me as a child. She had some good times and some bad times, but she always presented herself in a bright and uplifting manner and clearly had the Spirit of Christ at the center of her being.
It is such a wonderful hymn, for in its words and music it clearly depicts for us what Christ did for us. Sent to earth in human form with a divine mission, he spent his early years preparing himself for those final three years of earthly life when he truly changed the world. Oh, he didn't change the hearts of all and was, of course, put to death by those who were either jealous of him or the message he bore, maybe both. But he changed the world by bringing hope with his love and devotion to the hearts and minds of all men. He brought the message that thousands of years have not been able to erase and the courage and strength through suffering that so many have lived through or died for which is indicative of why He came.
Today we find ourselves once more on an earth going through monumental times of danger and wickedness. Satan uses every trick in the book to convince us that by following him we can have the world as ours. But what does that mean and what does that do to the soul?
I think if we really open up our hearts we know what that means. It means that if we listen to the Fallen Angel and his false words any supposed "gift" that he gives comes at monumental cost. Riches and material things that he might offer will only last while on this earth, and the damage that it will ultimately cause to us through our self-centered living will lead to damnation.
If we only open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, the third part of God sent to us from Jesus following His Ascension, we will instead offer our lives to the Christ and, by doing so, we will decide to live our lives putting Him first in all that we do. We may still have some tough times and will certainly face tribulation, but in the end we will Glory in life with Him forever after this life is done. And that's what the message of this hymn is all about: moving from suffering and shame to Glory.
So when you go to church today, or even if you are not a church goer, please take a moment to ponder the message of redemption offered to us by Christ, who went through so much suffering and shame on this earth just for us. What a truly miraculous and divine gift. It's there for the asking; just get down on your knees and open your heart to Him. He wants you living with Him forever, not cold and dead.
Have a wonderful day and may God bless you with His love and grace always.