Holy Week Reflections: Wednesday – The Cross

They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.
Mark 15:21-24

In the cross of Christ I glory, 
Tow’ring o’er the wrecks of time; 
All the light of sacred story 
Gathers round its head sublime. 

When the woes of life o’ertake me, 
Hopes deceive, and fears annoy, 
Never shall the cross forsake me, 
Lo! It glows with peace and joy. 

When the sun of bliss is beaming 
Light and love upon my way, 
From the cross the radiance streaming 
Adds more lustre to the day. 

Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure, 
By the cross are sanctified; 
Peace is there that knows no measure, 
Joys that through all time abide. 

The cross of the man from Galilee does indeed tower over all the wrecks of time. That is what time does – it passes, leaving behind that which does not endure. Everywhere in the world today we see those institutions, ideologies and insights which have not passed the test of time. Things, people, places once held to be eternal, lasting, beyond contradiction, all gone, discredited, broken, rendered irrelevant in the light of modernity and the novel. Modernity and the novel which we know in turn will take their places among the storied wrecks of time. 

And yet for the Christian person, for you and me, living or trying to live in faithful obedience to and imitation of the man from Galilee there is one thing only which endures, which refuses to yield to the ravages of time, which refuses to be forgotten, refuses to be denuded of its power, refuses to fall into irrelevance. It is the cross of Jesus, the sacred one who is our life, our health and our salvation. His cross stands radiant over the wrecks of time because on its wood hung the Saviour of the World, whose power to comfort, protect and save remains undiminished twenty centuries after its appearance on the pages of the long human story. 

No wonder then in this week of weeks it is our duty and our joy to cling to the tale of that brutal means of execution become for us the place where heaven and earth meet in a most wonderful exchange and recite once more the old and well-loved antiphon: “We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.” Yes, this is our story, this is our song and one day we shall join with the redeemed of God to sing it in the city of unending day – what a day that will be.

– David Campbell