In one analogy of the Cross, the horizontal member is our world, and the vertical is God, thus the Cross is the intersection of God with humanity. Taking this point of intersection into three dimensional image, picture the Cross as an ‘interface’ between humanity and the Glory of God - as a ‘doorway’ between the fallen natural world and the supernatural world awaiting us.
The Cross has two faces. The face we can see is Black, Dark, Of Death –reflecting our sin. The face we cannot see, the side facing Glory, is Resplendent –reflecting God’s Light.
The Cross is about Sin and Redemption; Death and Life. To go from Sin and Death, into Redemption and Life, we must enter the Cross. We must enter into Suffering before we emerge into Glory.
But its face of Glory is Hidden. When we take up the Cross, there is no sense of Victory, only Defeat. To bear the Cross is to Suffer. There is no comfortable position. The Cross only shows us our Sin, our Brokenness, our Smallness. Even Jesus cried out, ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?’ as the Cross swallowed him into Death. (Matthew 27:45)
No one submits to the Cross, unless bitten by Death, unless Desperate for Life. Even then, they must first Believe –that Self, has no power over Death, no source for Good, no claim to Eternal Life. And if then, so humbled, they yet must Believe, that Glory and Life can only be found in that Darkened Cross –as when the Israelites looked up upon the Bronze Serpent Moses prescribed. They could turn, to that which was Lowly and Raised High, or die. (Numbers 21:4-9)
If the Cross is cause for Hope, it is even more so a Quandary of Faith. For, the Tree of Life is Dark Mystery. The Cross is Mystery because its Work is contrary to its Fruit: Dying yields Life; Suffering yields Joy; Surrender yields Victory; and Obedience yields Freedom. The Cross is Dark, for we neither taste, nor see, nor feel the Saving Fruit of its Work –we must Blindly Believe we are being Saved.
As when the Hammer Of God beats the Spear into a Plowshare: Every blow of the Hammer disorients the Spear; each painful blow robs the Spear of its Status and Might; each transforming blow diminishes -with Unrelenting Mercy- everything the Spear once held with Pride. The Spear is blind to its Transformation. And even if, the Hammer Bearer should relent a peek of the Plowshare-To-Be, the vision would be reviled.
What, but desperation, would allow the Spear to submit to the hammer of the Cross? What, but Mercy, could arrange such fate? Dare the Spear expect to understand the Cross? No language of words can possibly explain -and to experience the Cross only blurs its meaning. Are we then, condemned to suffer its Wordless and Unpaintable Blows without the comfort of Meaning? Was the Son of God spared Darkness in the Sixth Hour?
What mortal possesses such Virtue? What Sinner can summon this Cross? Who standing can submit to its Stripes? “…they were astonished. 'Who then, can be saved?' they asked. Jesus gazed at them. 'For men' he told them 'this is impossible; for God everything is possible.'” (Matthew 19:25)
In Truth, we do not choose the Cross –in Mercy, it finds us. In Truth, we do not carry its weight –in Mercy, Jesus still bears its Burden. “Yes, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life. For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved.” (John 3:16-17)
We do not save ourselves –it is the Dark Mysterious Cross, reaching through time and space, with the Eternal Loving Blood of Jesus, carrying us -as Shepherd with Lamb against breast. No matter how Weak, or Naked, or Alone we feel in the Darkness of the Cross, the Love of Jesus secures us, as surely as Nails to the Wood, until He brings us into Glory.
In the end, it is Love which Calls us to the Cross; it is Love which Bears its weight; it is Love which gives it Meaning; and it is Love which is its Perfection. The Cross is the Portal of God’s Love.