The modern art of Tasaj — What covers your walls? (part 2 of 2)

          Isabelle and other rare gems of beautiful scenery created by the Great Artisan are the roads that bored us as a child. With nothing to gaze at or to enthrall our imaginative minds, my siblings and I rode exhaustive hours in the 1991 Sea-Green Ford Taurus, packed sardine-ly in the backseat encapsulated by Things and stuff and junk of the world. Welcome, Tasaj to this little life story. Tasaj has magical, mythical powers greater than any Harry Potter, Charles Wallace, Eragon or Gandalf. Tasaj entrances the mind, creates false realities and loves unfulfilled expectations.  
          A few years ago my apartment burned in a fire. As I was attempting to fill my brand new apartment with things and stuff and junk to replace the losses of the fire, I found myself browsing the wall art section of Hobby Lobby to no avail. Turning a corner, a thousand crosses jumped out at me from every angle. I had ventured down a purchasable aisle of devotion. At first my spirits hopped up to my throat, joyful that the world still had a touch of the LORD in the midst of Tasaj; and yet, something was off. There were no “Old Rugged” crosses anywhere. There were only swirly crosses, tin crosses and colorful crosses. Crosses that had been beautified so that someone could proudly display them as a $60 piece of not all that worldly Tasaj. I searched and searched but there was no needle in this haystack. My spirit sunk back into its typical sinner positioning having been temporarily lifted only to plummet again. 
          
          For some reason on that day as I searched for more Tasaj to further clutter the clean slate I had been given, I felt sick at the sight of the Cross. No, I do not consider the array of ornamental lower-case “t’s” to be worthy of a title as heavy as the Cross. I simply felt like the meaning behind the Cross was lost. I felt like the action was being overlooked. No, Jesus did not carry a swirly, twirly, lightweight, lovable, beautified cross up to Golgotha. He carried a splintery, coarse, painful, wooden cross that He was soon to die upon. Let me make one point very clear: I understand the swirly, twirly crosses have been beautified and are used by many to signify the loving sacrifice and incredible act that gave us our undeserved salvation, but I still feel that does not justify turning Jesus’ act into another opportunity to draw in consumer money in exchange for more worldly Tasaj. Maybe if the money from the crosses was going to a charity I would feel differently. 

          Jesus undeservingly, wholeheartedly, unselfishly gave his life in a gruesome manner on the Cross to take upon himself all the sins I have committed. To say I am eternally grateful for this action in no way accommodates for the true essence of perpetual debt I feel towards such a loving savior, but it is the only way to express a feeling no human can truly comprehend. Instead of death forever, Jesus rose again. I argue his resurrection should have us decorating our walls. Death on the cross was torture. Torture Jesus did not deserve. But His resurrection is what made His death unique.
We should decorate with love for others and paint our rooms with a desire to bring more to Christ. He died so that men may exist, but men caused His death. It was the LORD who orchestrated his impossible resurrection on the third day. It is Jesus our LORD who should decorate our walls, not the man made cross. We run into one problem. What did Jesus look like? Now I have heard of children painting Jesus, and children describing what He looks like. I would think with Jesus’s great love of children, we might need to more readily accept a child’s pictures of Him. However the point remains: until I see Him face to face, I will never truly know what Jesus looks like. If you ever find me trapped up in the debate of Jesus’s earthly form, please remind me that we have been given many, many pictures of Him. “No-one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4:12)

hfsocialworkerofficeA child eying me at a social worker’s office in Mbarara, Uganda.
Try talking to this little girl about Tasaj.

I reason we should be decorating our walls with not swirly, shiny crosses, but instead scribbled notes of verses, pictures of our friends who were once in need but are no longer, softly uttered prayers, and maps of possibilities. This is the true Christian decoration, not some frivolous lower case “t” that has “made in Singapore” stamped on the back. (Unless of course that cross was made by a fair trade company helping educate local underprivileged groups! That would be awesome! Or maybe donate the same amount of money the cross costs to a favorite charity serving the country in which it was made? Just thoughts.)

  I hope one day I can tell the LORD I already know what Jesus looks like. I hope one day the LORD will tell me He knows what my walls were painted with: Blood, the deepest crimson, a crimson that holds sacrifice and joy and pain and hope and hurt and life and sin and love. I hope on that day if the LORD cannot see what my walls were decorated with due to the horrible overcast of sin clouding my life, Jesus will step in and say, “Let me show you her walls. I painted them myself when I rose from the grave.” 
If you feel the need to add something to the very blank, white walls of your new space, consider decorating with shiny, simple, round stones. Matthew 28:2. Mark 16:4. Luke 24:2-4. John 20:1. It’s in the death yes, that we find life, but it’s in the resurrection, our newfound life is made eternal. 

I am interested in your thoughts about the Cross. Please share :-).
Happy Saturday! 

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