A Crimson Hope
Not another one. I looked out the kitchen window, that made a perfect picture frame, but the snapshot was bleak, certainly not a Kodak moment worth framing. Everything was gray-brown. The entire landscape was a dreary, lifeless, brownish – gray. I don’t mind the cold, but day after day of depressing, despondent, sunless skies, barren trees, and dead grass can leave me feeling the way everything looks, with a sense of dread and despair. About the time I decided to shut the blinds he appeared. I didn’t see him fly to his perch, he just broke into the center of the picture, perched on the tree. Within a blink there he sat looking straight at me, a beautiful crimson cardinal. His deep scarlet red feathers stood against the grayish brown background, as if to shout a resounding “No!” to the deadness of the day. “No!” to despair. “No!” “No!” “No!” He was a crimson hope. Hope for new life, a sign that in the midst of a dreary world, there is a crimson hope that renewing life is at hand.
I do not understand the crucifixion of Jesus. Yes, I know intellectually Christian doctrines and how our theories of atonement, sacrifice, and substitution developed, like the way I know how babies are born. But, I have born a child, the “knowing” of giving birth goes much deeper. Infants are born with great pain to their mothers, yet I understand their tiny scarlet faces beam of new life. But, why the cross? For the last several Lenten seasons, the crucifixion seems to loom over me haunting my spirit – the cross, death-dealing, sin-bearing, hate-filled, murderous cross.
Why? I think the crimson cardinal is my glimpse of God’s response, a suggestive image of why. It is as if, the blood of Jesus against the gray-brown cross, shouts a resounding “No!” to death. “No!” to despair. “No!” “No!” “No!” He is our crimson hope. Hope for new life, a sign that in the midst of a dreary world, there is a crimson hope that the renewing life is at hand.
In the midst of the dreary days of winter, we have hope. Hope that all things are being made new. Hope that death does not have the final word. We have victory and eternal life through the Crimson Hope of Christ. Share this good news with someone struggling to find hope today!