I had moved some of my cross necklaces that were hanging on the hook where I hang my alb. They were getting tangled up and just becoming a mess. So I took them down to set them aside until I could come up with a better solution.

The day proceeded on. I left work, went home for lunch, got a haircut. All pretty normal things. I had a meeting with a couple getting married this coming summer and needed to take Baby J with me. We loaded up and got to the office about forty-five minutes before the meeting was scheduled.

In a good mood, Baby J explored my office. Playing with the toys that were there only occasionally. At some point, she discovered the crosses I had earlier that day set aside. One cross, a wooden cross I brought back from Costa Rica one year, became her favorite.

She would crawl around the room to check out other things or to actually play with a toy, and all the while she clung to her wooden cross. I was able to snap this picture with my iPhone:

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After posting it on Facebook, a friend commented, “Jesus, keep me near the cross . . .”

Reading the comment was all I needed. There it was. The lightbulb went off. “Jesus, keep me near the cross,” was a hymn penned by Franny Crosby. Blind at 6-weeks of age, Crosby wrote many hymns with vivid imaginary. Her hymn invites us to mediate on the cross. I especially like this verse:

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
bring its scenes before me;
help me walk from day to day
with its shadow o’er me.

Our lives are lived in the shadow of the cross; in the shadow of, not just sacrifice, but eternal love. We walk in the shadow of an instrument of death that has been transformed into a healing stream. We live by the code of the cross that beckons us to pick up our cross and follow; follow in the footsteps of love, peace, and justice. To walk in the footsteps of compassion, service, and grace.

And this . . . this wooing to be near the cross . . . this gives us hope.

Jesus, keep me near the Cross,
there a precious fountain,
free to all a healing stream,
flows from Calvary’s mountain.