We began a new series today at the Crossroads called "Experience Worship." The service was about the cross and how our redemption leads to worship. We opened with "Made to Worship." Then Shawn took the stage to talk about the work of the cross. When Christ died he set us free. Shawn challenged us to think about what we are still carrying - sin, guilt, sorrow, burdens - that Christ already paid for. Next we wrote those things down and nailed them on the wooden cross with square nails and walked over to the communion table to remember what Christ has done for us.
I knew this service was approaching, so I spent some time last night really praying about what I would need to put on my paper. God revealed lots of areas that I am walking in disobedience or lacking in faith. It was a breaking point for me last night to really think through what's going on in my life right now. This morning after practice, I picked up a slip of paper from the front pew and slipped backstage to read through scripture and pray about the specifics of what to write on my paper. I wanted to have it ready before the services began so that I could quickly return to stage to pick back up playing the keyboard.
After I filled my paper with tiny microscopic print, I spent some time on my knees praying that today we would experience the reality of Isaiah 6 - that we would be completely confronted with God's holiness, and feel the desire to be made clean in his presence. After praying through that passage and reading about the angel cleansing Isaiah, I remembered that no matter how much black ink was on my paper, God has paid the price and fully redeemed me. So on the flip side of the paper, I wrote "redeemed" in big letters and throughout the service as Shawn spoke, I stared at the side of my paper that said "redeemed" rather than all the stuff on the back. I think that as believers it is important to remember just how big and complete that "redeemed" is in our lives - no matter what is on the flip side.
When Shawn opened up the time for us to come to the altar to nail the papers down, I went first. I wanted to be the first to nail on my sins, because Jesus would still have died, even if mine were the only sins on the planet. As I humbly, and brokenly began to nail, the hammer slipped and I whacked my thumb. To my credit, I kept my mouth shut, (because there wasn't any room to add more sins to my piece of paper), moved the nail to a better location and swung again with great force. This time I heard "ping, ping, ping," as my nail went flying across the stage. I resisted the urge to spoil everybody's holy moment with loud laughter, and the guy waiting behind me discretely slipped me another nail with a subdued snort. Shawn (who oddly finds my clumsiness adorable) said later, "That was such a you thing to do."
I moved to the communion table, and spent time on my knees thankful for God's work in my past and my present and very thankful that He will continue to work in my life in the future. It was a very beautiful service to see our people kneeling and nailing. There was something about the sound of the hammer hitting the nails that made it very real that while we were nailing paper slips today, there was a day a couple thousand years ago when a hammer drove nails into my Savior's hands and feet.
I am grateful tonight that I can live my life on the redeemed side of my paper. That no matter what is on the back side of my paper, it is not who I am. I am God's masterpiece, created for a relationship with him. I am thankful that my mistakes, my failures, my past, my pains, my sins, and my struggles are not the end of who I am, but only a reminder of how great God truly is.
What a beautiful day at The Crossroads!