Thursday, October 18, 2007
It’s Oct 18 and you can almost feel everyone gearing up for the holidays. People are getting busier. The weather is changing. (In Phoenix that doesn’t mean the cactus needles change or anything. It just means it’s not summer.) I’m starting to see symbols of the coming holidays. Halloween symbols. Thanksgiving symbols. Christmas symbols. (Last night my boy, Evan, noticed a Christmas tree up in a window of a department store. He’s six and he said, “It’s not even Halloween yet and they have a Christmas tree up!”) Symbols are important. In many cases they can become iconic… The pumpkin, the cornucopia, the Christmas tree, etc…
And then there’s the greatest icon of them all: The Cross. The cross, of course, was devised to powerfully demonstrate Caesars dominance to any who would dare to challenge him. It was clearly effective. Yet it’s not the most iconic symbol of all time because of the power of Caesar. It’s iconic because Jesus gave up his power. Think about that. Jesus endured arguably the most gruesome, humiliating death ever devised by man not to dominate but to liberate... not to win but to lose. How many people really know that truth? How many people really understand the freedom of “losing to win”? Not enough and I’ll give you one (though there are doubtless others) good reason why: Because (as Brian McClaren says) the cross still gets used in Caesars way, to win… rather than in Jesus’ way, to lose.
Domination has been apart of the human race from the beginning. We employ it in order to create power groups. Cain over Abel. Hebrew over Gentile. Romans over Non-Romans. Whites over Blacks. And on and on… In spite of what Jesus died for often times it’s no different with those who call themselves Christ followers. Domination and power are a part of our DNA. In the church it’s not hard to find people enamored with creating a power-caste system. Those who have “obviously” sinned are always on the bottom. You know that group, right? The fornicators, the murderers, the thieves, etc… Those who have sinned “less obviously” tend to get promoted. That group would include the gossips, the lustful, the manipulators, the schemers, etc… It’s a huge mistake because it reveals our selfish motive to use the cross to dominate. (And as C.S. Lewis reminds we assume the most scandalous sins are the ones of the flesh but Jesus always portrayed the worst sins as those of the heart.)
So, this holiday season, make a commitment to live after the way of Jesus. No political agendas. No power trips. No puffing up. No looking down. No domination.
Simply embracing, losing, giving up control and… peace.
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