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Thorns

Reading Mathew 27 can bring both sorrow and joy. The joy is of course, that as believers we know the risen King. However, we also know that Jesus went through suffering at the Cross. It is the profound humility and strength that Jesus illustrates simultaneously, that can provide hope and restoration to us all. But many times, as followers we go right to the hope. There is no mistake that the book of Matthew provides a very illustrative account of the crucifixion, and therefore we can not only ignore that part, including the cruelty that was put upon Jesus, but we must also reflect on what it means for us as believers.

For me, the image that stands out is the crown of thorns on the head of Jesus. Matthew 27:28 says,” They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.” It brings to mind the thorns that haunt me. The things in my life that get in the way of my life in Christ. Those things that are my sins. We see the word thorns in Genesis, particularly in the Garden where Eve and Adam succumb to their own desires and sin. Genesis 3:17-18 says, “cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.

It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field”.

Man is full of thorns that Jesus redeems. But in order to fully understand and appreciate all that God redeems, we must be willing to face our thorns. We must be willing to look at the ugly and to face all that it means for us.

In those final hours, Jesus was mocked and humiliated. Jesus was beaten, slandered and spit on. This senseless torture is sometimes hard to even imagine. But imagine and digest it we must! In all of the cruelty, God’s plan was not derailed and God’s ultimate victory was not set aside. And this is what we must remember when considering our own lives. The agony of the Cross illuminates God’s love for us. Likewise, in our lives we must acknowledge the thorns in order for us to truly understand who God is and how he can work in our lives. There is nothing that can stop God’s love for us. Matthew 27 teaches us that so well. So, we must go to God with all of who we are, including our thorns. That is when God can redeem it all and that is when we can truly feel the great joy of living our life in Christ. What are your thorns?

Posted by Dierdra Clark with

Another meaning of Independence Day...

On Tuesday, this Country celebrated the adoption of the Declaration of Independence which led to the birth of the United States.  There were two things I noted about July 4th this year.  First, all across America churches used the occasion to celebrate the freedom and independence of this Country.    I found this a bit odd.  As followers of Christ we know that we are actually called to be dependent on the Holy Spirit and God for our direction.    However, this holiday is all about independence and reliance on self.   I find it fascinating that so many followers of Christ across this land celebrate their own life of self-reliance.  

I also noted my own response to the holiday.  Of course we are celebrating freedom and liberty but the hard truth is that we celebrate a liberty that was only meant for white men.   The ideals of liberty and freedom were revolutionary at the time and remain a beacon of hope for many of those who are oppressed and marginalized.    But those words this year somehow ring a bit hollow to me.  As I thought about this I could not help but reflect on Frederick Douglas's speech which he gave on July 5th in 1852 to a group of abolitionists in recognition of July 4th.  I am including it here because it remains quite compelling in how it captures the strange dichotomy that African Americans find themselves in today.  

What to the slave is the 4th of July?

 

Posted by Dierdra Clark with 2 Comments
Tags: justice

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