The Bible says that “God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). I have always found that verse to be comforting. After all, it begins by reminding me that God loves us. Then the other day I was out taking photos, and another thought came to mind.
To set the scene a bit – I recently acquired a small camera (so I did not have to carry my large and heavy one) when on pilgrimage with the Warriors on the Way combat veterans pilgrimage. To familiarize myself with the camera I took it out to The Mission Trail, San Antonio a few days ago for a little “test drive.” I took photos of a variety of things and the sights among the Missions. I have taken such photos before using my larger camera. This is the first time I took any photos with a pocket camera, and one of the things a pocket camera lends itself to is selfies.
I have never really thought much of selfies and seeing that full-sized cameras make selfies a bit impossible had not ever taken a selfie personally – only being in those taken by others. But this was my chance to see if I could take a decent selfie with the new camera that included a small handle with shutter controls. I got a selfie in front of almost all of the different Missions and a few of the specific items within and near the Missions. Bottom-line, NO, I do not take good selfies. Maybe it is a matter of practice, but I am not impressed by any of my selfie efforts.
One thing struck me though when I got home and scrolled through the collection of photos. Two of my selfies were with a Crucifix in the background. Now I had not thought anything of it when taking the photos. I was simply getting in front of things and seeing how I might frame the shot so it would look good as far as composition is concerned (I pretty much figured out there is no such thing as good composition I a selfie. It is just your face in front of something). But in two of the locations along the Missions Trail that something in the background was a Crucifix. Looking at those photos got me thinking.
Christ died for me. Just like that comforting verse at the start of this post, God loves us and shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners – Christ died for us. In the selfie, however, I saw a different message. Not a message to displace the first but one as equally important as the first. Christ died because of me – my sins put Him on the Cross. That, in the words of the Apostle Paul, recorded in the Bible, “Christ died for our sins,” and that means, in the many failings of my life that I can look back on and regret, I had a part in putting Jesus on the Cross. In that, I am not alone. We can each take a Crucifix selfie and say – Here I stand guilty. Thankfully, that is not the end of the story. Today is Good Friday – the day the Church remembers the Crucifixion. A horrible day of betrayal, torture, and the death of Christ on the Cross. Yet, we still call it “Good” Friday. Why? Because that Crucifixion occurred because “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Yes, Jesus died because of our sins, but He died FOR us. To redeem us and set us free of those sins that He brought to the Cross in His body. His body was broken for us and His blood was shed to shower us in mercy and forgiveness (Matthew 26:28).
While I do not necessarily recommend going to your local parish and doing it for real – consider taking a mental Crucifix Selfie. Then, when you look at it, remember that as Jesus looked down from the Cross, He said to God the Father in Heaven – Forgive them.
Have a Good Friday.
Pax et Bonum,
the Very Rev’d Dr SG Rindahl
Warriors on the Way
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