When I Survey the Wondrous Cross — by Richard S. Barnett

He had no beaut or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. (Isaiah 53:2 NIV)

Driftwood fascinates me. Its twisted forms and weathered surfaces spark my imagination and prompt me to make decorate objects, including crosses in rustic style.

Ornate crosses don’t appeal to me. Turning driftwood into a cross, however, allows me to reflect on Jesus Christ and his cross. The Romans did not fabricate a special edition from select timbers for the master carpenter from Nazareth. Rather, they added insult to their barbarities by crucifying him upon a cross made of two rough timbers, crudely notched for tying together. As likely as not, the wood for his rugged cross came from a stock of unclean pieces used in previous executions.

As my wire brush, steel wool and elbow grease reveal the grain, blemishes and patina of driftwood, every twist and curve tells me of Jesus’ anguish as he hung there, writhing. I hear the words, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29), and I see his arms reaching out to–even me.

For this, Christ Jesus was born at Bethlehem of Judea. for this, we rejoice in his Nativity. For this, we rejoice in his wondrous Cross, his Name, and our father in Heaven.

Glory to God in the highest!

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