Six Words to Inscribe onto Your Heart

When we stand with Adam and Eve, east of Eden, looking back on the gardens we have destroyed because we couldn’t keep our hands off forbidden fruit; when we weep over lost loves, lost chances, lost lives; over and above all the sounds of shame and accusation and judgement ring these six saving words, “With Christ I have been crucified.” He stands with us, east of Eden, to bring us back into the Father’s favor.

When we stand with Abraham and Sarah, surrounded by enemies, perplexed by unfulfilled promises, wondering what the future will hold; when we mar our marriages with bad decisions, as they did; when we come up with “better plans” than God’s own that welcome woe into our lives; when all this happens, shouting louder than all the voices of fear and failure that roar within our conscience is this strong and sure word, “With Christ I have been crucified; Baptized onto his cross I died. With liquid nails to him I’m bound, so where he is, there I am found.”

When we find ourselves on the run with Jacob, separated from family, plagued by the unknown; when, like Joseph, we are stabbed in the back by those closest to us and left to rot in a life that feels like a prison cell; when it seems as if even God has abandoned us in an Egyptian dungeon; along come the words that promise neither sin’s deceit or death’s despair or Satan’s charms can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. For “with Christ I have been crucified; onto your heart these words inscribe.”

There has only been one baptism in the history of the world: the baptism of Jesus. “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” @@In our baptisms, we stream into the Jordan of the one baptism of Jesus.@@ And in those waters we are nailed to his cross and washed out the door of his tomb. Within his wounds we safely hide. Our lives are his and his our own. It is no longer we who live but Christ who lives in us. For we have died, and our lives are hidden with Christ in God. With Adam and Eve, with Abraham and Sarah, with Jacob and Joseph, we sing, “With Christ I have been crucified. He alone is my comfort, my hope, my love, my life.”

With Christ I have been crucified;
Baptized onto His cross I died.
With liquid nails to Him I’m bound,
So where He is, there I am found.

Within His wounds I safely hide;
With Christ I have been crucified.
His flesh my flesh, His bone my bone,
My life is His, and His my own.

In Mary’s womb, in Bethlehem,
From cross to grave, with Him I am.
With Christ I have been crucified;
And raised with Him, in life abide.

Lest sin’s deceit, or death’s despair,
Or Satan’s charms, your soul ensnare, 
Onto your heart these words inscribe:
With Christ I have been crucified!

*This reflection is part of a series of mediations on hymns that I presented at the “Day of Singing Boldly” at St. John Lutheran Church, Seward, Nebraska. It is based on my hymn, "With Christ I Have Been Crucified."