The Shadow of the Cross
and Some Thoughts

O Christ! who once has seen Thy visioned beauty -
He counts all gain but loss,
And other things are naught if he may win Thee
And share with Thee Thy Cross

And he on whom its shadow once has fallen,
Walks quietly and apart;
He holds the master-key of joy and sorrow
That opens every heart.

The burdened souls that pass him on the highway
Turn back to take his hand,
And murmur low, with tear-wet eyes of anguish,
"You know - you understand."

And yet no other can his heart interpret,
His life is hidden, lone;
A holy seal is set upon his forehead,
And he is not his own.

O Cross of Christ! on me thy shade is resting,
Thy sacred marks I bear;
Earth holds for me no more of grief or gladness,
No anxious thought nor care;

Only henceforth, the bliss and pain commingled
Of sharing woes divine,
Of knowing I am called to eat His portion,
To drink His bitter wine.

Keep me forever, Lord, beneath that shadow,
Lest, haply, I should lose
My life for something less then Thy sweet service,
Or one dear pang refuse.

by Annie Johnson Flint

Thoughts by Mary E. Stephens

Philippians 3:7-10 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Galatians 6:17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. 

Do others see the sacrificial mind of Christ in you and me? Do they see His tenderhearted compassion and His pleasure in seeing people do the will of His Father? How does the shadow of the cross fall upon your own life? What are you willing to give up that Jesus Christ and His love may be shed abroad through you life to others? 

Romans 5:3-5 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

This is a tough calling to live up to. Of course, we can't without the help of the Holy Ghost enabling us.

One of the most horrifying things that has come to light among Christians over the last few years is the unbelievable selfishness. There is so much about "my rights," "my autonomy," "my body," "my choice," "my family," "my president," etc. If we stop to consider how the shadow of the Cross might affect our thinking we can't help but realize that the mind of Christ is often opposed to these things.

Jesus gave up His "rights" as God. Philippians 2:6-8 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 

He gave up His autonomy to become a man limited by the physical world and to die in agony in a human body. Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

He gave His body to be broken as a sacrifice for us. 1 Corinthians 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you... 

He chose to humble Himself (Php. 2:8), and to do the will of the Father, no matter what it cost Him. John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

He gave up His home in heaven. Matthew 8:20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. He gave up communion with His Father while on the cross. Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And He gave up His earthly family to do the work God gave Him. Matthew 12:46-50 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

He gave His allegiance to God alone and did not take shortcuts to power. John 2:24-25 But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. Luke 4:5-12 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

You see, Jesus' objective from before He arrived on earth was to die on the cross for our sins. He came to serve others, not to be served. Matthew 20:25-28 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

This is the example we are meant to follow. 1 Peter 2:21-24 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

This is what it means to walk in the shadow of Jesus Christ's cross, as Annie has called it. It is to live in remembrance of that great sacrifice, knowing that because He rose from the dead we have the power through His indwelling Spirit to actually live this way. Is it hard? Yes. Will there be sacrifices? Absolutely. Will it sometimes be painful? Without a doubt. But the thing is - He is worthy. Our rights, our families, our autonomy, our political leader, even our bodies are not. 

Does that sound counter-intuitive? Unreasonable? That's because our thoughts are not His thoughts (Is. 5:8-9), and we are the ones who need to change our thinking to reflect the mind of Christ. We are not called to defend our rights, to force the world to be good or to make any nation "great again." We are called to be burden bearers (Gal. 6:2) like Jesus and to carry the glorious gospel of Christ to every creature (Mark 16:15, Luke 19:10). 

Romans 12:1-3 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

It is our reasonable service because Jesus Christ is worthy. Were it not for Him we would have no hope and no relationship with God. Ephesians 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:  

The cares and troubles and complications of this life should not trouble us like they often do. We should be pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Php. 3:4), and striving to walk worthy of Him. We should be showing the marks of Christ's suffering and love in our lives as we point others to Him. 

Colossians 1:10-14 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 

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background and graphics by Mary Stephens
vintage graphic: unknown source
October 2021; CA