One of the greatest joys of things on this side of Journey is being able to see how our former interns take time out of their days to encourage and pour into the lives of their fellow Journey interns. The community that develops over the summer is unique. Unique in the sense that we realize this is the type of community we have all desired and have been looking for. It’s a community that accepts everyone as they are, as a child of the Most High. It’s a community that is real and is challenging, because we all spur one another along so that we might be in an authentic, growing relationship with Jesus. Lastly, it’s a community that lasts, because once you grow alongside one another this much you cannot help but cherish the people that were with you through it all.
Take a second to read an email that was sent out by one of our former Journey interns, Emily Bennett, and you will see the kind of encouraging we are talking about.
I went home this past weekend for a family wedding, and so I got to go to my home church with my parents. I kept thinking of you all throughout the entire sermon. Due to the nature of the message, my mind was particularly drawn to the morning in Ngaamba 2 when we focused on the cross - the height, depth, width, and breadth of what it actually means that our Savior was crucified there, for our sake. Remember what that morning was like?
During the sermon, Jeff Henderson gave an explanation of how the Eastern legion of Rome actually crucified people, as opposed to our common perceptions of how they were carried out. I learned that rather than what we picture the cross to look like, it was actually shaped more like an upper-cased letter "T." The other interesting thing is that while we typically picture Jesus carrying the whole cross up the mountain, the upright beam was actually stationary in the ground, and he most likely carried the horizontal piece of the cross to Calvary. Perhaps the most significant difference, however, is that Jesus is often pictured as being crucified on a cross that was 15, 20 to 25 feet up in the air- so that people would have to walk by and look up at Jesus in order to see him. But the Eastern legion of Rome actually crucified people on a cross that was no more than 5 or 6 feet off the ground. They wanted to make crucifixion very, very personal for a specific, psychological reason. When they crucified people, the message Rome was sending out was, "come on, get very, very close. We want you to get face to face & eye to eye with the person who is on that cross. We want you to see it, feel it, hear it..." because they knew that once you experienced someone dying on the cross you would never, ever forget it- it was that horrific. The message that Rome was sending when they crucified someone was that if you do not bow down and submit to Rome, then this, too, shall be you.
BUT when Jesus was crucified, he brought the message of a much greater kingdom, with much greater significance. He brought this message from our Father's kingdom: "Come face to face & eye to eye with the Savior of the world...the Savior who has been beaten, and battered, and spit upon and punched, and is now crucified. When you see what's going on here, and you come face to face and eye to eye with out, you will never, ever forget it." And the Bible goes on to narrate this story for us. When we look into scripture and come face to face with the raw message of the gospel, when we consider the power and the brutality and the salvation that the cross encompasses, the gospel unfolds. We see how God's love manifests itself in the sacrifice of his only Son. We see the story of our very own forgiveness and redemption, and we find that he has made us pure and holy! And we can never forget it. We can never be numb to the fact that Christ died for us. We can never look to the cross and live as if it never happened.
Join me in praying for the interns of Journey 2012 - that God would continue to grow and thrive between them and draw them to his throne of grace. May God initiate new communities for them on their campuses and opportunities to lead for his name and fame.
It’s a blessing to just be witness.