bending back the brier

Tonight our church provided an opportunity for us to nail our sins to the cross.  It’s a quiet, reflective service … scripture reading, prayer, a wooden cross, nails, hammer, slips of paper, pencils.

As we meditated I was drawn to a few phrases in scripture …

The prophet, Isaiah, said “he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”  We esteemed him not … the phrase was convicting in those quiet moments tonight.  

He gave his life for me … laid it down … how can I not give him my all?

The prophet, Isaiah, continues … “the punishment that brought us peace was upon him.”  The peace I have, the peace I long for came with a price … punishment … someone had to be punished in order that I might have peace.  He bore that punishment for me … 

He gave his life for me … laid it down … how can I not give him my all?

And again from the prophet, Isaiah … ” yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.”  The Online Etymology Dictionary says, “intercession c.1500,  from L. intercessionem (nom. intercessio )  “a goingbetween,” noun of action from intercedere … Jesus in action on my behalf … going between God and me … to plead my case … I hear him say, “take me instead … I’ll pay her debt.”

He gave his life for me … laid it down … how can I not give him my all?

Because, dear Christ, your tender, wounded arm
        Bends back the brier that edges life’s long way,
    That no hurt comes to heart, to soul no harm,
        I do not feel the thorns so much to-day.

    Because I never knew your care to tire,
        Your hand to weary guiding me aright,
    Because you walk before and crush the brier,
        It does not pierce my feet so much to-night.

    Because so often you have hearkened to
        My selfish prayers, I ask but one thing now,
    That these harsh hands of mine add not unto
        The crown of thorns upon your bleeding brow.
~E. P. Johnson

He gave his life for me … laid it down … how can I not give him my all?

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