There is a gift to choosing the right necklace to go with your outfit, and I do not have that talent After years of trying, I have given up even buying them. So a few years ago, I decided I needed to have a small, simple necklace I could wear with everything and keep it on 24/7. Yet another attempt to again simplify my life.
I chose a cross, because my faith is important to me, and I am not ashamed of it. If I was going to wear it 24/7, I wanted a symbol with meaning. I’ve worn this necklace for about 6 years; day and night.
Michael Card, one of my favorite musical artists for years, came to teach and worship with our congregation this year. His songs are deep theologically. He writes about things others haven’t; for example, “Jubilee,” about the Year of Jubilee in the Old Testamnent, a time when debts were forgiven and slaves were set free. Another is a song centered around the story of Jacob’s ladder, a sweet, beautiful lullabye, “Are you dreaming Jacob’s Dream?”
My husband, Randy, and I had the privilege of enjoying lunch with Michael after the services on Sunday.
During our lunch conversation, Michael made a comment, I think unintentionally, hitting me squarely between the eyes. With the same great passion I find in his songs he said, “It upsets me when Americans wear crosses around their necks and on their clothing.” (My paraphrase 6 years later.)
Sitting across from him was one of the people he was talking about — ME! A little embarrassed, hoping he hadn’t noticed my necklace, I quietly listened intently to him and my husband discuss this topic.
Michael continued, “We as a nation have no idea what a suffering Savior looks like, since we have never experience suffering! We have no idea the sacrifice made for us, and we take it for granted.” At least that’s what I heard loud and clear.
As I swallowed my lemon water, I drank in his words as well; my necklace now suffocating me. I wanted to remove it in shame, but couldn’t figure out discretely how to do it. I knew he was right. Not just about people but about ME.
Arriving home, I re-read Isaiah 53, which portrays the enormous sacrifice and horrible death Jesus suffered for me. With tears I realized the cross is not a symbol of MY faith, but instead a symbol of God’s deep love that would go to any length to be in a relationship with me, a sinner.
I meant to simplify my life, not my faith!
Every evening, my cross comes off now. Yes, it still dangles around my neck sometimes, but I it bears the new challenge God brought me. Each time I put it on, I recall our lunch conversation. My cross is no longer a symbol of my weak human faith, but a symbol of God’s strong, eternal faithfulness to pursue a relationship with me.
Thank you so much, Michael!
Thank you so much more, My Jesus!
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