THE VIEW FROM THE CROSS
Fr. Nigel W.D. Mumford+
Dateline May 2009 First Presbyterian Church, Greenville, South Carolina.
I had been invited to lead a healing mission at the First Presbyterian church in Greenville SC. That included a talk Friday night. Two talks and a Q&A session Saturday morning and a healing service in the afternoon. The conference was very well attended, around five hundred people. On Friday evening before my first presentation I was given an office to pray in. As soon as my host had left, I fell on my knees in prayer. Immediately I was given a vision. It was so vivid, so real, so powerful and so quick.
I saw Jesus on the Cross!
He could barely speak but he invited me to pick up the ladder, place it on the cross and climb it. He wanted to say something to me. I was concerned about the guards… don’t worry they are on their coffee break. Coffee break? Jesus, coffee had not been invented yet. Was that my imagination, or was he messing with me? Whatever happened took away my fear of what was about to happen.
I lifted the ladder and placed it on the vertical post just under the horizontal beam. I climbed the ladder very hesitantly. The blood, the smell, the flies, imminent death, the actual crucifixion, the horror… I got to stand on the ladder right next to Jesus. It was all so very real. He looked at me, my heart melted. The sorrow in his eyes… the grief for the world, the burden upon his shoulders pushing him downwards.
He whispered, “I want to tell you something. Put your right shoulder under my left shoulder and lift me up, I’m suffocating.” I slid my shoulder under his and lifted him up the best I could. His head was right next to mine inches away. No flies, no smell. Blood and dirt on his face, matted hair… it was all so very real, all so vivid.
He spoke, “I want you to see what I see…”
I looked away from the Lord, our cheeks almost touching. I looked at the terrain, the geography, the wadies, the light brown burnt looking grass, I looked as everything he was looking at. I thought later that all the painting of Jesus on the Cross are images of the front of the crucifixion. I don’t remember seeing any painting of the rear of the Cross or the view from the Cross!
I was suddenly back in that upper room office. Stunned. What just happened. I was just transported in time to the outer walls of Jerusalem to the year 33 and had a conversation with Jesus. I was wondering why he wanted me to look at the topography, the view from for Cross?
My host came into the room. She knew by my face that something had happened. I was in shock. We did not have time to talk about it as she led me to the worship space. It was a much larger crowd than I had imagined. We praised the Lord with some powerful ‘happy clappy” worship songs and then I was introduced. I was still very much on the top of the ladder. I was in shock… what just happened?
The introduction ended. It was my turn to speak. I smiled and looked around, getting my bearings. I paused to get my feet off the ladder and back on firm ground. I started to tell the gathered crowd of the vision I had just experienced. I got to the part when Jesus said, “I want you to see what I see…” and froze. It was not the view from the Cross, it was not the topography, it was not the land…
His word suddenly made sense.
“I want you to see what I see…”
I stared at the back row on the left side and looked right into the eyes of everyone there. I went up and down the rows, looking at every Soul present. I spoke out the message I had been given as it came to me.
I realized what the Lord wanted me to see. Nigel, I want you to see the pain, the dis-ease, the sickness, the illness, the diagnoses, the mental anguish, the emotional pain, the broken hearts, the real pain, the perceived pain, the rejection, the grief, the loss, the lack of being loved, the raw broken Souls, the emotional bleeding, the triage, the fear, the anxiety, the anger, the rage, the discord, the mental illness, the disconnect, the very real human suffering in all its forms. It was as if I was given the vision of the very real suffering of Jesus and then the Lord showing me the human condition of the same raw pain our Lord suffered in the same moment.
“I want you to see what I see…” I indeed saw what He wanted me to see and I have seen what He wants me to see so many times since this amazing gift and intimate encounter with the crucified Savior.
What is my reaction to this brief encounter with Jesus? It was all so real, so vivid, I know it was not my imagination. The fact that I was not able to connect the dots until I was in such a vulnerable place standing in front of five hundred people and not knowing where this vision was going until it all made sense in the very moment of looking at the gathered crowd.
“I want you to see what I see…”
I saw and still see what the Lord sees… not something I asked for, not something I was seeking, but an amazing gift, an insight, an intimate “showing” into the life of Jesus, and what He saw.
Five months later I was in a coma for three weeks. I was in the ICU for three months. I had a severe case of the H1N1 swine flu. I was not expected to live. My lungs, hips and legs took a major hit. My liver and kidneys had shut down. I was on one hundred percent oxygen for three weeks, I had a temperature of 105, sepsis and MRSA, my blood was pooling in my legs. I was dying and couldn’t breath on my own. Jesus came and lifted me up and gave me life. He let me speak again…
I know my redeemer lives… I have no doubt who the healer is. Thank you, Jesus, for so drastically changing my life… what more can I say except thank you, I am still in total awe of that life changing moment.
Grace and Peace be with you,
Father Nigel W.D. Mumford
Priest – Author -International Speaker
Priest Associate; Galilee Church, Virginia Beach /Director of Prayer Ministry
BY HIS WOUNDS INC. /Founder and President
Founder /Welcome Home Initiative© A Healing Retreat for Combat Veterans