Cruciform Love

Cruciform Love
Jesus’ death on the cross was and always has been Plan A.  

God’s love for the world began before the world was ever created.  He created the world from an abundance, outpouring, overflow, cascade of love as we can only imagine. Our finite minds cannot hold the infinite God, yet we see the details of creation, the minutiae, the grandeur, and all that exists in between, before time and in all time, as an expression of God’s great love.  And the cross is an extension of that love.  Cruciform love is love in the shape of a cross, the cross of Christ.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post on the Hebrew word hesed. It’s a complex word, pregnant with meaning, often simply translated as love (which it is). Hesed relates the unchanging nature of God, stemming from agape, self-sacrificial, love.  This Hebrew word appears over 250 times in the Old Testament and is often translated lovingkindness (and 169 other ways), but also encompasses loyalty, faithfulness, kindness, grace, and mercy.

Often in our consumer-driven, transactional society, we feel as though we must feed the vending machine of heaven with quarters (or debit cards) of our prayers, devotional times, and “holy” acts.  We expect that we get out what we put in.  We feel closer to God when we make deposits to our heavenly ledger, forgetting that our relationship with God is based on who He is rather than who we are. For indeed, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).

The hesed of God offers us protection and is based solely on God’s character and his relationship with us as His children.  John Mark Comer describes hesed as, “The person from whom I have a right to expect nothing gives me everything.” This eternal goodness and lovingkindness, according to Katharine Sakenfeld, cannot be bribed our coerced – it is freely given. It is essential to who God is and cannot be changed.

What a beautiful gift, a never-ending treasure, to be loved by God in all circumstances, especially those in which we least deserve it. Such cruciform love.

Father, help us to live in the fullness of your love and forgiveness as we seek to follow you in all that we do. Amen

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