Monday, July 19, 2010

Praying with a Crucifix

What God ordains is always good:
this truth remains unshaken.
Though sorrow, need, or death be mine,
I shall not be forsaken.
I fear no harm,
for with His arm
He shall embrace and shield me;
So to my God I yield me. (TLH 521 or LSB 760)

I wrote the other day about the importance of having a crucifix in the chancel so that the people might be rightly focused on the cross of Jesus and so that its message might be superimposed (like a transparency) upon all that we think and pray and sing and hear in the Service.

We sang "What God Ordains Is Always Good" yesterday. With the crucifix before you, the story of Good Friday is brought to mind. Jesus remained unshaken in His trust of the Father. Jesus cried, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me" in His sorrow and death. That substitutionary atonement means that we will NOT be forsaken in our sorrow, need, and death.

Look at the lines near the end that final stanza: "For with His arm He shall embrace and shield me." The crucifix shows us Jesus' arms extended upon the cross. Those were the arms that bore God's wrath over sin and took the punishment on our behalf. Those were the arms that were slashed and bruised and yanked out of joint. Those are the arms that embrace and shield us from all harm.

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