In April, I returned to one of my favorite places to retreat–Mount Hermon Christian Camp, nestled in the California redwoods. Home of the Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference held annually the weekend before Easter. I was there this year as a mentor for children’s writers.
Early Palm Sunday morning, I walked to one of my go-to sites for retreat on the Mount Hermon grounds. Victory Circle.
The empty seats are a big draw for my soul seeking solitude. The amphitheater-style seating faces a lush forest of towering redwoods. Front and center stands a cross. Thus the name of this tucked away refuge–Victory Circle. Because of the cross, not only can we have victory over sin, but God’s grace covers any circumstance and our freedom in Christ trumps fear.
That Palm Sunday morning when I looked up at the cross, the view had changed since my visit Saturday morning.
A long table flanked the cross. A water bottle sat in front of the cross. And a cut piece of firewood stood on one arm of the cross. That wasn’t right!
Someone had added clutter to the cross.
Indignation knotted my insides.
Who would do such a thing? Probably kids messing around on Saturday night.
Fueling my indignance to a fever pitch, I marched down the steps to declutter the cross.
When I reached up to remove the log from the arm of the cross, the Spirit of God whispered into my spirit, “Who would do that? You, my child. You struggle with adding clutter to My cross and all that I accomplished there.”
As I returned the piece of firewood to a nearby pile, my heart ached with conviction. I hadn’t set the table, water bottle, or firewood in front of or on the cross, but I was nonetheless guilty of adding clutter to Christ’s cross.
My list of litter included self-sufficiency, self-righteousness, and indifference–all of it takes away from the complete work Christ did on the cross placing the focus on my finite kingdom rather than on God’s eternal Kingdom
Perhaps you can relate to my struggle, cluttering the cross with self.
Father God, I confess my tendency toward self-reliance. Thank You for your saving and sustaining grace. Teach me to more consistently lean into You and walk in the way of the work You finished on the cross. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.