Every Day Light
The Unique Cross
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing ..." (v. 18)
For reading & meditation:
1 Corinthians 1:18-31
Another of the chief differences between Christianity and the world's religions, and something which adherents of other faiths find a major stumbling block, is the cross, which humbles all pride and dashes all hope of self-salvation. It also speaks of the tremendous and uncalculating generosity of God in providing for us a salvation that is without price. Kagawa, the great Japanese Christian, said that it was in the cross that he found Christianity's greatest uniqueness. Listen to his words, spoken some time before his death in 1960: "I am grateful for Shinto, for Buddhism and for Confucianism. I owe much to these faiths. Yet these three faiths utterly failed to minister to my heart's deepest needs. I was a pilgrim journeying upon a long road that had no turning. I was weary, I was footsore. I wandered through a dark and dismal world where tragedies were thick. Buddhism teaches great compassion ... but since the beginning of time, who has declared 'this is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many unto the remission of sins'?" Islam, of course, proclaims the mercy of God. Each chapter of the Qur'an is introduced by the words "In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful." But they do not tell of a costly and historic display of God's mercy as portrayed by the cross and spoken of in each Gospel. In Islam, Allah is merciful to the meritorious, those who pray, give alms, and fast in Ramadan. In Christianity God is merciful to sinners not because of their good works but because of Christ's sacrifice for them on the cross.
Gracious and merciful Lord, through the cross I see right into Your heart. And what I see there sets my heart on fire. I see Love bleeding for me, saving me, delivering me. Now I can never be the same again. Thank You, dear Father. In Christ's Name. Amen.
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