Today you will be with me in Paradise. -- Luke 23:43
Jesus did not die alone. There is one cross on most United Methodist altars. But as we drive along the road, we see every now and then three crosses together, usually simply made of weathered wood.
Jesus died between two criminals, and that fact marks his death forever as a sacrifice of love for others. Outcasts and insiders, people reviled and people revered, people understood and people misunderstood -- we, in the vast and complex human family are bound together, inextricably by Jesus in the center.
"One cross is not the same message as three crosses. One cross makes a crucifix. Three crosses make a church." Barbara Brown Taylor makes this observation in her sermon, "The Man in the Middle."
During Lent, we say with the thief on the cross, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus Christ, the Gracious and Forgiving One, responds, "Today you will be with me in Paradise."
There is one cross on the altar of our churches. Let us never forget how it is inextricably bound to the other two. -- Hope Morgan Ward
Prayer: Lord Jesus, remember me. Embrace me with your love. Save me with your grace. For yours is the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.
Hope Morgan Ward is the resident bishop of the Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church.