Genuine LoveHow have you experienced the reality of God’s love?
Top Music Videos
looking beyond Calvary
The Mount Grace Priory in North Yorkshire is one of England’s best-preserved medieval monasteries. For hundreds of years, Carthusian monks lived there in solitude, devoting themselves to prayer. The priory’s ruins are impressive, but a more modern monument caught my attention on a recent visit to the site.
At the center of the priory church stands a sculpture called the Madonna of the Cross. Crafted by Malcolm Brocklesby in 1996, it depicts Jesus’ mother Mary lifting her newborn Son to heaven. There are many striking aspects to the sculpture—like Mary’s posture (determined rather than distraught), and her expression (serene rather than anguished). But perhaps the most striking feature is that she stands in the form of a cross. As Brocklesby notes in an inscription: “The figure of the Madonna is integral with that of the cross, the stark and terrible symbol at the heart of Christianity, which is an inescapable part of her existence.”
Mary knew her calling would be painful. As Simeon told her, “a sword will pierce your very soul” (Luke 2:35). That prophecy was fulfilled in John 19. Mary stands looking at her Son—now lifted up on a cross (v.25). He’s suffering. She loves Him beyond words. Even now He’s concerned for her well-being (vv.26-27). The sword has pierced her soul.
But there’s a reason why the sculptor depicts Mary as looking serene. “She is looking beyond Calvary to the resurrection,” he says (see 20:1-18).
As I reflect on today’s verses and Brocklesby’s sculpture, I ask myself: Will I, like Mary, accept the suffering inherent in my own divine calling? And will I look beyond that pain to God’s promised victory? —Sheridan Voysey
Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene (v.25).
What does Paul reveal in 2 Timothy 1:8 about our calling in Christ?
How else did Mary suffer for being the mother of Jesus? In what ways might you suffer for Him today?
- Genuine Love - How have you experienced the reality of God’s love?...read more
- Straight Up - Is there a current situation in your life where you’ve been less than honest?...read more
- He Saw Something - Have you seen something so true that you would be willing to live or die for it?...read more
- Higher Law, Higher Love - What choice of conscience faces you today?...read more
- Stay or Run Away - How might God want you to display His glory in your life?...read more
- Jealousy and Generosity - To help His followers understand what the kingdom of heaven is like and the dangers of comparison obsession, Jesus told a parable about a landowner who hired workers to tend his vineyard....read more
- On the Fringe - Who sits alone at church that you can befriend?...read more
- Taming Anger - Think back to a time when you lashed out in anger, or when someone lashed out at you....read more
- Full of Joy - How can you tap into God’s joy more fully?...read more
- Mistaken vs. Hard Hearts - How have you experienced a hard heart toward God in your relationship with Him?...read more
- The Narrow Door - How can salvation be a free gift simply received and yet still require our response?...read more
- Last Dance - How can you focus on thoughts that are lovely and admirable today?...read more
- Free to Forgive - How has God’s forgiveness changed your heart?...read more
- Friendly Wounds - What does it mean to “speak the truth in love”?...read more
- Hope Awakening - Do you tend to see the glass as half empty or half full?...read more
- Life and Loss - Where are you going with your pain?...read more