March 9

Written by Bill Grandi on March 9th, 2021

I’ve been doing a lot of listening lately to some worship music. Some older. Some newer. Chris Tomlin. Pat Barrett. Matt Redman. My sermons for the next 4 Sundays are on the cross (go figure since Easter is coming). 🙂  One song that keeps playing over and over in my mind is Once Again by Matt Redman. It has a chorus which says, “Thank you for the cross/Thank you for the cross/Thank you for the cross my Friend.”

It’s not often we say those kinds of words. The cross is looked upon as an instrument of ugliness and hate and in its physical form it is.  So being thankful? Not quite on our radar. That just doesn’t seem appropriate does it? Sounds sort of sadistic in a way. “Yes! I’m glad Jesus died on a cruel cross!” Well, in a way, we should be.

But that opens up a thought I want to pursue the next few blog posts: Gratitude. “Thankful for the cross.” Let’s define gratitude first:

It is the divinely given spiritual ability to see grace, and the corresponding desire to affirm it and its giver as good. (p.18)

Bill’s translation: Seeing what is as being from God and affirming and acknowledging it to God and others, i.e. taking no credit whatsoever for any of it but knowing WHO it all came from. As hard as it is to sometimes see, God is at work in all ways, and at all times to ultimately bring about honor and glory to Him. And ALWAYS for our good.

What are your ideas about gratitude? About the cross? I want to explore more the next couple of days. But I would like to ask you for your thoughts and how they might be reinforced or challenged the next couple posts.

“Father, I do thank You for the cross. A symbol of ugliness and hate has turned into the biggest and most vivid symbol of love the world could ever know. I know it has become that to me.”

Quote from “Practicing Thankfulness” by Sam Crabtree


4 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ryan S. says:

    Definitions of words are funny… As they take on the meaning of the time, of a society, of a people. I am sure if you look gratitude up in a Webster’s dictionary… there will be nothing spiritual or God-inspiring in it at all. Though, despite what Webster has to say or people or society, I feel the definition you quoted may be closer to the origination. I wonder how much the sense of gratitude is a God-Given gift that is passed from generation to generation… A generational blessing if you will.

    And for the cross… God is the master of taking the ugly, taking the bad, taking what is intended for evil, taking what is brought about to destroy and flipping it all on its head and making it beautiful and good, making it a new creation.
    –The cross I think is the perfect symbolism for what He did and is doing in me.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I absolutely love your last comment about the cross Ryan. What a fantastic way of saying what He did for us.

  2. A former pastor of ours talked about why we wear a cross to show we are Christians, when the symbol is the equivalent of the modern-day electric chair. Whew! What a shock when he said that! Yet, he went on to say pretty much what you’ve said here, Bill. It’s a sign of being grateful to the One who loved us enough to die for us.
    I’m looking forward to your coming reflections and your sermons, too.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      That is a great illustration Martha! And I’m sure there is no pun intended when you say “what a shock.” 🙂 I do look at it being a sign of being grateful. I hope I don’t disappoint on both counts Martha.