This probably shouldn’t bother me like it does. Looking through the catalog of a religious supply company, I chanced upon an appreciation gift. It was a was a 7 inch free-standing cross made of glass. Etched in it were these words, “In Appreciation For Your Service in God’s Work.”
In appreciation for His service on the cross, we should receive His cross and the bleeding, suffering, sighing and dying He does there. In appreciation for His service on the cross, we should bear whatever crosses come our way. But “should” is the Law and even here it seems I do a disservice to the cross and the Crucified One. Better would be to say the cross is best appreciated when what Christ done there is received as one’s own and when one, in Luther’s words, embraces his individual cross and lets the nails go in deep.
If you gave me such a cross in appreciation for my service in God’s work, all I could do is blush with shame. This cross would ever stand as a monument of what I have so often shunned, disowned, denied. I have borne guilt as if He didn’t; I have acted as if my sins weren’t really all paid for, and I have bitterly complained about the mildest of crosses that have entered my life.
What I shouldbe given in recognition of my service is a statue of a crowing roster, thirty pieces of silver, and bobble head of Thomas that slowly shakes from side to side indicating, “I doubt it. I doubt it.” But what I amgiven is a rough hewn, wooden cross with a corpus pierced by nails that I pounded in and a spear wielded by my hands. What I am given is Water from His wounded side to drown that crowing roster; Words that are apples of gold in pictures of silver because they forgive my betrayals, and Body and Blood that steady my quivering doubts. Give me these; give Him your appreciation.