A well-worn path runs between the cross and the tomb. The air is permeated with the fragrance of grace.
I used to think a disciple of the Risen Christ, wouldn’t get stuck at the cross, but be out among the masses declaring jubilantly, “Christ is risen!’ I had trouble figuring out why a deeply wounded friend needed so much cross time??? But the past two years have been twilight dark, except for God repeatedly shining his light on deeply entrenched sinful attitudes in me. Their exposure has basically kept me at the foot of the cross, too weak at times to lift my head. That and trundling back and forth to the tomb – to make sure it is still empty. Slowly, as the icons to self drop heavily away, the light has crept up. There is a lot of company along this path… there is a lot of vulnerability and quiet regard and sorrow; a shared knowing that the darkness of sin leaves a residue of pain, whether one is the sinner, or the sinned against. At times, one fills either role. But the path to the cross leads also to the tomb. It’s a journey that Jesus made; and to which we can bear witness. It is a journey I have been unable to make successfully without the company of His Spirit.
The prayers ‘in between’ are prayers of grace, founded in Christ’s journey. They are breathed to life in his sacrificial death on the cross, and burnished in power by his resurrection from the grave. They are prayers woven amongst believers, held in the knowing that sin leaves a residue of darkness, that only Christ’s mercy and grace can dissolve. They are prayers in between earth and heaven, rising as hope’s echo from the empty tomb, and soaring away on the winds of the Spirit to fill kingdom air with God’s intentions. They are prayers that fill the holes in Nehemiah’s wall with that same intent, and guard against Satan’s. They are prayers that you and I can breathe between the utterances of Almighty God…Amen, amen, amen.
Almighty God, move in mercy and grace, to wipe away the sins of this age. Begin with me. I need you desperately to reframe my thinking, to carry me from the cross, to the grave. To show me that the tomb is, in fact, empty. Help me to believe that your power is great – even for me. That your grace is a deep well; deep enough to cover a multitude of sins.
Almighty God, move in mercy and grace, and help me to move to the nuances of that same dance. Help me to leave the judging to you. Help me to understand that every turning from sin is covered by the blood of Christ.
Almighty God, help me to guard my heart against sin, not against the sinner – so that you can use me as a vehicle of reconciliation, a conveyor of truth.
Almighty God, help me to remember what this powerful grace cost in the giving, and receiving of your Son. Help me to bear the banner of that cost, not proudly, but thankfully.
May my life bear the fragrance of your grace, a sweet aroma to those in need of you.