1 Corinthians 1:17-18
17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, so that the cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. 18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Before his sermon messages, Pastor Mike always prays that God will guide his words for God’s purposes; that he will not get in God’s way. He humbly asks God, “Place me behind the cross.” His hope is that through his messages, God’s love- shown through Jesus on the cross- will receive the attention, not him. His prayer is an excellent one for all of us.
This week, our focus is especially on the cross, isn’t it? We will follow Jesus to the cross. We will grieve as he suffers and dies on the cross. We will then rejoice when we see the empty cross and empty tomb. After Easter, how will we keep the cross before us? How will we remain behind the cross?
In our baptism, many of us received a blessing after we were washed with water. We were anointed with the sign of the cross on our foreheads as we were told, “Child of God, you have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever.” With this anointing on our foreheads, we were placed behind the cross.
Making the sign of the cross each morning is a good reminder (Martin Luther suggested this). We can say the words again, “You have been sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever.” We can ask God to place us behind the cross with each new day. Let’s do these things and then notice what changes in the way we live our day. Will we be better people, better followers? Will our words and actions point to the cross? May we not forget the cross even after we celebrate Easter.
After our baptismal anointing we are also told, “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Let’s do so today.
Our reminder symbol is a small dish of water (or anointing oil). Let’s make the sign of the cross, place ourselves humbly behind the cross, ask the Spirit to help us remain there, and bring glory to God.
Thank you for the cross. Thank you for the love shown through Jesus on that cross. Place me behind the cross today. May I always keep the power of the cross before me. May all I say and do point to that cross and glorify you alone. Amen.