My beloved, professional baseball team signed a big-name player from the New York Yankees. His contract was worth an enormous amount of money for about a decade worth of commitment. The first time his new team traveled back to play his former team in New York, a famous talk show set up a cardboard cutout of the player on a booth to give local New Yorkers a chance to boo their former Yankee. New Yorkers had no idea that the man himself stood behind the cutout.
I found it fascinating to watch local New York baseball fans change their demeanor when the baseball player came out from behind the cardboard cutout. Equally intriguing was the way the baseball player handled the situation with grace and poise, shaking the hands of people as he thanked them.
In our world and culture, we often value people for what they produce or achieve. We may perceive the gospel message as promoting accumulation of things and wealth. In this season of Lent, however, the cross looms ever closer as an expression of God’s love for all and Jesus’ death for all. “From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view.”
It’s easy to treat people poorly, to devalue their existence by considering them as nothing more than a cardboard image. It’s a completely different matter to be face-to-face with someone, face-to-face with someone for whom Christ died. The cross changes everything.
God doesn’t view us as cardboard cutouts. We worship the God who reconciles all things through Christ. Christ changes our worldview and offers us peace and reconciliation with one another as well.
In this Lenten season, reflect on how Jesus’ death on the cross affects your perception of others as persons of sacred worth.

Lord, thank you for loving us as your created beings. Amen.

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