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In the shadow of the cross


Dear friends,

As a teenager, I attended a corps Easter camp on a farming property in Katherine, Northern Territory. I have two vivid memories from that camp. The first was walking into the large cool room to collect food because, for a very short time, you would feel cool. The second was the camp’s theme, ‘In the shadow of the cross’.

The cross is a symbol of pain and death, yet to symbolically sit in the shadow of the Easter cross brings to mind a myriad of thoughts and emotions for me:

  • A deep gratitude for the gift offered through all the cross represents: the offering of a second chance, a new life, of life transformation, and the reality of mercy and forgiveness available to me every day.

  • It brings to life the concept of grace, the undeserved favour of God, freely and unconditionally given so I might know life and know it abundantly.

  • A reminder of how extravagantly God loves humankind to come to the edge of his divinity and knock on our human hearts and ask, “May I come in?”

It highlights any sense of entitlement as such a gift is utterly extravagant, and in the words of the hymn written in the 1700s, it ‘casts contempt on all my pride’.

Major Bram Cassidy, an Area Officer in the Victorian Division, recently reminded me that “proximity alters perception”. Sitting figuratively in the shadow of the cross opens the possibility of new insights and grasping God’s amazing love for each of us in fresh ways.

This Easter, I invite you to position yourself in the shadow of the cross and to reflect and consider the response of your heart and mind to the experience. May it leave your heart warm with gratitude to God and the desire to deepen your faith in the One who personified grace.

God bless you each,

Colonel Winsome Merrett

Chief Secretary


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