It’s almost like a dream now. I think back to just a few short days ago, when our team arrived on the site of a lot in a sugarcane village, that had been purchased for a church building. It had supposedly been “cleared” and was ready for building, but there was still a little work to be done in order to start the process! This team . . . well, let me just say, “They are AMAZING!” A group of people who have a vision, listen to God, put their hearts and minds to it, and before I could even say, “Shouldn’t you be wearing your safety goggles?”, there was this structure . . .a building . . . full and complete, a sanctuary, ready for a church service!
Many moments surrounding that, jump out in my mind over and over again. Pedro, the town drug dealer, was a huge work horse and tremendous help for our crew; the children wanted to jump in to pick up trash, paint with motor oil, help hammer nails; the thief who was missing half an arm because justice was handled Dominican style, worked ambitiously as if he had no handicap; the soaken wet team members who rarely stopped or took a break, and Miguel’s tears every time he came to check the progress of the building. Some of those moments will never, ever leave my mind, or my heart.
But one day, in a conversation with a team member, Tyler Lay, the importance of the project was made so clear to me. He took me into the building to show me what they had done on the wall . . . .out of two-by-fours, a model of a cross had been created. He said, “No church is complete without a cross.” Then later, with some of the leftover wood, in a last hour attempt to build a podium before we had to leave, there was a glitch in the wood. I don’t remember the details exactly, but it didn’t fit, or wasn’t matching up or something. So he said, “Let’s make a cross on it.” So up front in the church, where Pastor Miguel will stand to preach, there is a cross behind him, and a cross in front of him on the podium. He is surrounded by the CROSS! (But we already knew that anyway!)
We are all “Complete with a cross” . . .a cross where Jesus paid the price for all of our sins and craziness. We can lay it down at that cross because He promises to take away all the sin. Even better, He left that cross and rose again to live with us forever! It’s the ultimate sacrifice, the greatest story . . . .complete with a cross!
I Peter 2: 24
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”