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The cross! The cross!

May 21, 2016

“Let us pray”, he urged. He took a step back into the pulpit, put his glasses on and lingered for a moment, allowing the audience to repose in the air charged with owe at the weight of the subject of his talk; which, to use his own words, is the very center of the message of the Bible.

The right words; ones that will faithfully convey our heartfelt worship, ones that will allow everything that is within us to fully express itself, ones that will do justice to the weight and complexity of the subject, ones that will conveniently embody the proper response of a worshipper; those words —let alone the energy to formulate any—elude us. Prayer in times like this becomes difficult; silence (or hands-lifting) becomes our best option. The old man was wise and gracious enough to craft one prayer beforehand that we, the strugglers, could borrow and offer to God. He found where it was written down and with a calm voice, he started reading:

Dilemma wretched: how shall holiness
Of brilliant life unshaded, tolerate
Rebellion’s fetid slime, and not abate
In its own glory, compromised at best?
Dilemma wretched: how can truth attest
That God is love, and not be shamed by hate
And wills enslaved and bitter death—the freight
Of curse deserved, the human rebel’s mess?
The cross! The cross! The sacred meeting-place
Where, knowing neither compromise nor loss,
God’s love and holiness in shattering grace
The great dilemma slays! The cross! The cross!
This holy, loving God whose dear Son dies
By this is just—and one who justifies

D.A. Carson

Quote: Concluding Prayer of “The God who is There-Part 11. The God who declares the Guilty Just.” Sermon available on YouTube

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