Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Beauty of the Beaten

Think of the ripe, tender olive that is, at varied stages of it's prime, plucked, pitted, left alone, pressed, crushed - and then beaten.

From beyond the thick badger skins of time that now veil your memory, recall the mental image you painted long ago, perhaps as a child in an Old Testament Bible study, of the golden candlestick - six knobbed branches protruding from a prominent trunk, budding into perfect almond bowls - skillfully carved with painstaking intricacy out of pure gold, one piece, beaten into shape.

Meet the rest of humanity at the Place of the Skull, and catch your own reflection in the eternal eyes of He who knew no sin, yet became sin, and hung there; stripped, stricken, plucked, pitted, left alone, cursed, pressed, whipped- and then beaten beyond recognition.

As you bow your head and cradle your temple in the palms of your own guilty hands you realize you are soaking wet, sweating profusely - only reality proves it isn't perspiration at all. Repenting, the next excruciating and painfully vulnerable moment reveals red blood, and with that revelation the condemning substance too is gone - and an aromatic apothecary instead is saturating both your hair and the hem of your garment. Amazingly, and with such grace you can somehow peer back up at an empty cross and share the smile you see through the clouds with those stumbling about beneath the weight of the rod, the spear, the mallet and the whip.

Without the 'beaten' there is no efficacious work of Calvary, atonement for sins, redemption or sufficient grace. Without the 'beaten' there is no olive oil with which to anoint the sick, the called, the sent - and without the 'beaten' the there is no ignited spirit, human candle of testimony or wick for burning worship.

The beauty of the beaten is not the anguish of the process - it is the end the result when He says 'it is finished.'

You too can learn to embrace the wave that dashes you against the Rock of ages.

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