Living Cruciform

Last week my husband was out of town, and I watched myself follow the curve of the groove, right down into deep frustration, fatigue and very poor mothering.  “This is just how I am when Kevin’s gone, I guess.”  But in the midst of all the election fall-out, my ears have been a bit more tuned in than normal, and I sensed that this was no longer an acceptable response to my sin.  I can’t tell you why, but I got it in my head that I needed to read Ann Voskamp’s new book ASAP, so we made an uncharacteristic trip to Barnes and Noble.

{I liked hearing Mystie’s recent thoughts on 1000 Gifts and chuckled, because I am also someone who widely recommends Ann’s work, but always with a warning about her writing style.  It takes some serious getting used to, and is more like poetry than prose–grammar police, beware.  However, I will say that she is worth listening to on audio.  When Ann herself is reading her words, the writing comes off more like a lovely dramatic monologue.}

I am only four chapters in, but this book, The Broken Way, is radically correcting my thinking.

In chapter 3, Ann quotes Martin Luther at length, the basic thesis being that unity with Christ, “living cruciform” as she calls it, is a foundational element of the Christian life and a main purpose of the sacrament of Communion/Eucharist.  “[T]here is no physical body of Christ here on earth but ours. […] You are part of a body always.  There’s a cross that is your backbone, and all you have to do is reach out your arms.”

I don’t think these quotes are going to do the book justice, but I’ll still share them.

Martin Luther:

Faith unites the soul with Christ as a bride is united with her bridegroom.  From such a marriage, as St. Paul says, it follows that Christ and the soul become one body–so that they hold all things in common, whether for better or worse.  This means that what Christ possesses belongs to the believing soul, and what the soul possesses belongs to Christ…Christ possesses all good things and holiness; these now belong to the soul.  The soul possesses lots of vices and sin; these now belong to Christ…Christ, the rich, noble, and holy bridegroom, takes in marriage this poor, contemptible, and sinful little prostitute, takes away all her evil, and bestows all His goodness upon her!  It is no longer possible for sin to overwhelm her, for she is now found in Christ.

Christ redeems her from all her evil, and adorns her with all His goodness.  Her sins cannot now destroy her, since they are laid upon Christ and swallowed up by Him.*

Ann:

Can I incarnate being broken and given in thanks to Christ? […] [T]he Last Supper embodies the fullest DNA of the body of Christ, of the church.  Giving thanks–then breaking and giving.  The doxology, then discipleship.  The eucharisteo [thanksgiving], then koinonia [fellowship].

This hit me like a ton of bricks this morning when I was confronting my youngest daughter on deliberate disobedience.  It finally broke through to me that I am Christ to her, and when I rub her back as she cries and hold her till she’s ready repent, I am living out that Communion in the flesh.  Not just thinking about it, but actually living it.

Rubber met road, I think.

WWW ladydusk

More words at Ladydusk.

*I wasn’t able to figure out from Ann’s notes exactly which quote came from which of Luther’s writings, because they came from some compilations.  Sorry…

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2 thoughts on “Living Cruciform

  1. Thank you, Meggie, for this! I recommended reading The Broken Way to my book group and am now very excited to dig in. I find Ann’s style capable of taking me from my head to my heart. I love the thought and reality of you being Christ to your precious girls. Yes…

    Liked by 1 person

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