Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Contemplating the Cross...

Hi Friends,

I'm preparing my talks for the upcoming women's retreat for Carmel Presbyterian Church, and in doing so, am contemplating the cross and all it means to us.

It's easy to lose the wonder, the awe, the "wow" of all Jesus did for us. It's easy to not be amazed anymore. But then, I imagine what it must have been like for Mary, standing there as the blood dripped, as her son groaned, as all her hopes and dreams died. I think of how she stood there, not knowing that she was standing at the crossroads of all history - at the moment when everything changed and her son would redeem us all. I ponder how the moment of hopelessness was really the moment of glory. And I discover that maybe it's always like that -- when all seems lost, God is about to move with a power we never dreamed of. That's what the cross means. All things are transformed for His glory. Even the hopeless places in my life. Even the darkest moment in Mary's.

Meanwhile, here are some questions to contemplate as you focus on the cross (these are questions the small groups at the retreat will be discussing together):

-- Besides forgiving your sins so that you can go to heaven, what else did Jesus accomplish for you on the cross?

-- Imagine your life if Jesus didn’t die on the cross. What would it look like? How would you be different?

-- Describe the person you think God wants you to be.

-- What needs to be hung on the cross to die for you to become that woman? What thought patterns, habits, activities, fears, etc. need to be nailed to the cross for good?

-- What do you need to embrace to become who God created you to be? What new thought patterns, habits, activities, hopes need to come to life?

And, here is a video of my favorite song, Vicky Beeching's The Wonder of the Cross. Watch and listen if you want your wonder renewed:

Video for “Wonder Of The Cross”


Robin Lionheart said...

“Besides forgiving your sins so that you can go to heaven, what else did Jesus accomplish for you on the cross?”

If he made his forgiveness exclusive to Christians, then for me, nothing at all, because I’d be part of the ⅔ of people living today he would condemn to hell.

“Imagine your life if Jesus didn’t die on the cross. What would it look like?”

Exactly the same.

Marlo Schalesky said...

I'm sorry to hear that your life wouldn't be any different, but in God's love, he does give YOU the choice. What he did on the cross provides you an OPPORTUNITY, a way, not only to have your sins forgiven, but also to no longer be enslaved to your sins. He opened a way to become the person you were created to be, you were meant to be. You can't become that person in your own strength, through your own will, but only through a relationship with Jesus - with him working to transform you into who he dreamed you to be.

As for condemning people to hell - Jesus does not do that. Instead, he gives us all a choice. You can choose to accept the FREE gift of his forgiveness, you can choose to spend your eternity with Him. Or you can choose to reject that gift and rely on your own self and not be with him for eternity. The choice is yours to make, as it is for everyone.

So yes, Jesus death and victory over sin is for all . . . but you must choose to accept it. No one will force you into heaven. The choice is yours ... you accept him and what he did for you, you allow him to work in your life, you throw in your lot with him ... or you don't.

I have chosen him ... because I have never in all my life seen a love like his. I've never experienced anything so amazing, so all-inclusive, so ready to sacrifice all not only to forgive me, to give me a way to heaven, but also to transform me ... and mostly so that I may know him deeply and intimately. It's all about relationship, and whether or not you choose to have one with him or not ... whether or not you allow his gift to be applied to you. His love makes it your choice.