Nine-year-old Braun lived in a little village not far from London. Braun's parents were agnostics, but they felt that at least once in his life, he ought to go to church. So they dressed him up in his little black suit and black bow tie and asked the governess to take him.
That Sunday, the parson preached about the crucifixion of a Man. He described the nails driven through the Man's hands, the crown of thorns jammed upon His head, the blood that ran down His face, and the spear that ripped into His side. He described the agony in His eyes and the sorrow in His voice when He prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
Halfway through the sermon, little Braun was crying. Wouldn't somebody do something? Wouldn't the congregation rise up together and take the Man down from the cross? But as he looked around in astonished surprise, he saw that the people were complacent. "What's the matter with these people, Nanny?" he asked. "Why doesn't somebody do something about that Man on the cross?"
Patting Braun on the shoulder, his nanny nervously whispered in reply, "Braun, Braun, be quiet. It's just a story. Don't let it trouble you. Just listen quietly. You'll soon forget about this old story when we go home."
What is the story of the cross to you? Is it just something you sometimes sing about? Something you occasionally mention in prayer? Something you hear glibly referred to in sermons? What difference does the cross make when you have feelings of condemnation and guilt? Does it enable you to cope with despair and discouragement?