Sunday, June 28, 2009

Once Again

Marcia Laycock is a writer and speaker living in Central Alberta, Canada. Her devotionals have been widely published and her novel, One Smooth Stone won her the Best New Canadian Author Award in 2006.

There's a song by Matt Redman that says -

"Once again I look upon the cross where You died.
I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside.
Once again I thank You, once again I pour out my life."

While in Israel we visited a heritage village. It was much like the heritage villages here in North America that portray past history in tableau, with real actors and working artifacts. This village was in Nazareth and was laid out to represent the town as it would have been in the time of Jesus.

The day we visited, it was raining - pouring rain, in fact. Most of the actors kept inside the small shelters, which didn't really keep them dry because the roofs were made of thatch and far from water-proof.

We moved from one scene to the next - the potter's, the weaver's, the wine press, and finally the carpenter's shop. It was here the fact that this was a representation of Jesus' home hit me. I looked at the tools, the kind of rough wood he would have worked with, and Jesus became more real to me.

Perhaps that's why one of the tableaus we saw next had such an impact. The figure at the centre was made of rough wood too, and was draped with a simple cloth. The lighting was subdued, flickering with small oil lamps, their tiny flames leaning toward the focal point of the display. The cross. The cross of Christ.

As the song says, once again I was struck by what Jesus suffered, what he endured for me. I was struck not just by the physical pain he was subjected to, but by the torture of having the sin of the world put upon His shoulders, the agony of knowing His Father was turning His face away.

And once again I became aware that there is nothing I can do to make it up to Him. No remorse, no penance, no acts of kindness, no great work of fiction or text of apologetics. Nothing I do can repay that debt. And once again that act of pure mercy stuns me.

The unconditional gift of love and forgiveness causes my heart to break. And that, I realize once again, is the only thing Jesus wants of me.

A heart broken wide enough for Him to enter in.