For a few very hard years this word was my mantra.
The word means
-undismayed; not discouraged; not forced to abandon purpose or effort
-undiminished in courage or valor; not giving way to fear
But the truth is, I was often dismayed by everything that had taken place, and I did battle discouragement. I battled fear and doubts. I hurt and was angry, and sometimes "undaunted" sounded more like a mockery than a mantra, and I was determined to be real about all of it in these posts, thus the name, Undaunted Reality. More than that, though, I was determined to live undaunted, not because I'm so great or strong, but because my God is, and no matter what this world looks like, He is the only reality that matters.
I pray I live the reality of Him beautifully undaunted.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

If I Knew

Last Thursday I attended mass for the first time in months. Honestly, it wasn't so much about the mass. It just so happened that since mass was that night, it meant the sanctuary would be open, and I wanted in the sanctuary.

I wanted to sit and gaze upon the crucifix. I wanted to meditate on Christ on the cross.

One of the great mistakes of the Protestant churches I have attended in my life is the removal of the crucifix. Oh, several of them, the older ones, not the more modern ones, have the cross there, but I can't say any of them have a cross with the body of Christ on it, and to me, that is where the power is. The power isn't just a cross. Lots of people wear crosses or have crosses for decorations, and they are just that--decoration. No. The power isn't in the cross. The power is in the crucifixion, and that is what I wanted to focus on, literally and figuratively.

Tonight I attended mass again, and again I arrived early so I could meditate on the cross. As I sat and gazed upon the most beautiful murder of all time, I had a kind of mental conversation with Christ, and it went something like this:

As I sit here and look up at You hanging there, I am trying to take it in. Not just the reality of salvation. I get that, although I still don't understand it in some ways. Why in the world You would do that for Your enemies is beyond me? I know. It's called great love. Some  things are greater than I can fathom, or maybe what I struggle to fathom is that we do not have to be great to receive it. We simply have to realize how utterly great our desperation and need is.

And I look at the horror of You, and my chin quivers, and tears fill my eyes because how can I find  such stunning beauty in something so ugly as the way You were beaten and mocked and hung on a cross? But You are beautiful. The fact that You did that is so breathtakingly beautiful. Just as I have no words to truly describe the horror of it, I have no words to describe the beauty of it either. So I remain silent because the magnitude of Your beauty is beyond  my ability to describe, and too often I remain silent because people who don't understand will mock You...and me...and Your sacrifice is too great to let someone spit on it...except I am here staring at You, trying to connect with what hangs before me because too often...WAY too often...I spit on You.

And I wonder if I could understand the pain, if I could understand the love, if I could understand the mindset...Except I don't.

I cannot fathom the lashes. I cannot grasp the pain of the nails cutting into Your wrists so You can take on the consequences of others' sins. Every time I have wanted to break the skin on my wrists it was to escape the consequences of others' sins.

I cannot comprehend the physical agony. I cannot imagine suffering like that willingly when it wasn't Your fault. I struggle and plead for mercy from the pain when it is my fault. How did it feel to You for Your pain and suffering to be the mercy I plead for? For You to be mercy incarnate and for mercy to hurt that badly?

No. I cannot comprehend.

But if I could, would I be less petty? Would I be more willing to throw off the sins that I wrap in like someone with an entitlement complex? Would I see through the mirage of world and choose the better life, the sacrificed life?

If I could truly grasp You on the cross, would I run to the cross and die on it with You because knowing what it took for You to hang on that cross for me makes it impossible for me to not hang  on it for You?

Copyright 2016 Jerri L. Kelley

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