When I was a kid, I took piano lessons in school, even though I didn’t have a piano at home. You can imagine how great my practice sessions were without a piano.
One Christmas, I somehow talked my grandparents into buying an electric piano for me to practice on.
Don’t you just love how grandparents are so much more easily swayed than parents?
Parents start running calculations in their head the moment you ask for anything.’
Last week’s report card + the library fine + the increasing food bill + two pairs of outgrown shoes = No.
Grandparents jump right to “Yes!”
It’s so much more fun to ask them for things.
Not only did they buy a piano, but they kept it in their bedroom. See, where I lived, everyone squished their families and their junk into tiny apartments. It was sardine living at its finest.
So, every day after school, I would walk across the street to my grandparent’s house and practice the piano.
If I were them, I’d find an excuse to walk down to the corner store and buy milk, toothpaste, or a pack of chewing gum – anything to get me out of the house and away from my musically challenged noise, but they stayed. In the same room.
Sometimes they would even ask me to play old favorites.
My grandpa always asked me to play “The Old Rugged Cross”. It didn’t matter how many extra notes I mistakenly played, he’d ask for it, and then sit back in his chair with his eyes closed and listen. Sometimes he’d whistle along.
My grandpa was a whistler. When he lost you in store, he’d whistle, and it wasn’t just any whistle. It was grandpa’s certain tune. That’s how we’d find him.
On this Good Friday, all I can think about are the words to that song.
The emblem of suff’ring and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.
A wondrous beauty I see,
For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.
Its shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,
That old hymn, by George Bennard, tells the story of today. Doesn’t it?
Jesus, 100% God and 100% man, made himself a little lower than the angels. He came to die, for me and for you. Without the shedding of His blood on an old rugged cross, there would be no payment for our sin.
Sometimes you hear preachers use the word “remission”. They’d say, “remission of sins”. It’s such an interesting word, because it means, “the cancellation of debt, charge, or penalty”.
Jesus’ death on the cross cancelled out our debt of sin. He took our penalty on himself.
He came to set us free from the bondage of sin.
Good Friday is good, because of the cross.
Without it, there would be no sunrise service on Easter morning. There would be no empty tomb.
Today, I am thankful for the cross.
And, I’m thankful that my grandpa’s memory reminds me to love that old rugged cross.