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Posts Tagged ‘#goodfriday’

This Holy Week from Palm Sunday to the following (Easter) Sunday I am contemplating how it is a week of preparation and prophesy fulfilled, a pendulum-shifting drama that swings from joy, to sorrow then to an even greater, impossible triumph.

As this Holy Week has progressed, I have found my heart and mind to be asking three questions:

  • how did the disciples not know what was going to happen as they ate with Jesus?
  • what if I were there?
  • what happened to open the eyes of those who met him on the road?

I need to admit that if I were there, in the time and place of the crucifixion,

I wouldn’t be there!

There is nothing within me that could imagine a reason for choosing to watch a trial (with the potential for a corporal punishment), view another human being carry what would be their cross up a roadway full of angry people spewing vile words and spit, or watch that same human nailed to the cross where he would live out his final hours in agony.

I just wouldn’t be there!

But … when I read the story, I do insert my heart into it.

One thing that I ask myself, consciously or not, when I watch a story enfold (true or fiction), is what character can I most connect or associate with? Once I can associate with someone in the story, then I am there, in the words and drama that enfolds.

The events of Holy Week are always digested in my mind and heart through the person of his mother, Mary.

Her appearance in the accounts of this week is at the foot of the cross.

Each of the four Gospels mention her presence by name, Luke is presumed to include her when he wrote, “and all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things” (Luke 23:40).

She was there … there at the foot of the cross, looking up at Jesus, her son … her child.

As a mom, reading the accounts of what happened to him, I feel emotionally gutted. To try to imagine a mom observing the torturous, stretched-out death of one who had grown inside of you, who you’d nourished at your breast, who you’d cared for, loved and protected … well, I really don’t want to imagine it. But, when I read the accounts of what happed I cannot help but associate with Mary, his mother. I cannot help but mourn for her … for what she would have to see, and hear, and know.

She saw that sign (Mark 15:26),

KING OF THE JEWS

She heard the insults, the mocking, the taunts to save himself (Mark 15:29-32).

She heard him cry out “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

She heard him cry out “I thirst” (John 19:28).

She heard his final words, “it is finished” (John 19:30) and her child was no more.

She heard and felt the earthquake (Matthew 27:54).

She probably heard the centurion guarding Jesus on the cross say, “surely he was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54).

“When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”” (John 19:26-27). In his final hours, he ensured the care of his mother, after his death, for he knew that she would need a home.

Throughout all that she saw and heard that day, I wonder …

I wonder if she heard words from the past echo in her heart and soul. Words that were prophesy about her …

“And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

These were the words spoken to Mary, by Simeon (Luke 2:35), when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus, as a baby, to the temple to offer him to the Lord.

Did she hear them, over and over, as she saw and heard all that was going on? As her son suffered? As her heart ached?

As a mom, I read this Holy Week story and experience it all through the heart of a mom … and my soul too, is pierced.

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When my kids were young, I would sometimes hear their cries from the bedroom at night. When I would ask what is wrong their response would be, “I’m scared, Momma.” And so I would ask the reason for their fear. Sometimes it was a fear of someone dying, or that their favorite toy was lost, or the dark was too dark, or they just felt scared. I would then sit, or lay, on their bed and say soothing words, sing soft songs. Inevitably, they would soon drift off to sleep.

There was no magic potion that eased them into restful sleep. What my children needed was not so much resolution of their fears, but my presence with them through their fears.

Do you remember times when the presence of someone you loved was the best comfort in the face of fear?

Maybe it was walking home in the dark, as a teenager, after watching a scary movie. Or holding your dad’s arm while walking down the aisle at your wedding (or maybe you were his comfort?). Or that friend who sat with you during chemo treatments. Or the one who held you close as you walked through a great sadness or depression.

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

This Friday, Christians all over the world will walk through the valley, as we remember the sacrifice of Christ for us.

As his body hung on that cross, he was so aware that he was alone. A loneliness that he was born to bare, a loneliness that his divinity did not deserve.

Yet, Jesus, though the fear of the loneliness of the dark overwhelming, showed that he chose the accompaniment of the name above all names.

According to Elicott’s Commentary:

“how it was possible for the Son of Man to feel for one moment that sense of abandonment, which is the last weapon of the Enemy. He tasted of despair as others had tasted, but in the very act of tasting, the words “My God” were as a protest against it, and by them He was delivered from it.”

He spoke the name of his father when he shouted, “”My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46), and in doing so he declared,

even though I am in pain

even though my heart is heavy

even though I have wrongly been declared guilty

even though I will die a lone being

I will not fear, for you are with me as long as I have breath left to say your name.

The presence of God is there for us all, we need only to call on his name.

 

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If you live in the right areas of the world you have the opportunity to view the third ‘blood moon’ in the tetrad (four) series of lunar eclipses. The shadow of the Earth will cover the moon for just under five minutes. It is a rare and exciting event for sky watchers from NASA to those under my roof.

In the Christian calendar, today is the darkest day, but it is not because of an eclipse.

Today, Christians all over the world, participate in a memorial for the sacrificial death of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus, the sinless son of God, paying with his body and soul, for the sins of a humanity, who could not ever dream of making atonement for ourselves.

Today, I bow my head in prayer, and thank God that my own redemption was worth the death of His Son.

Today, is a day of thanks for the gift, but also acknowledgment of how dark was that day of scourging, torture, crucifixion, and death.

It could be said that, for Jesus, it was a total eclipse of his heart, as the sin of all humanity separated Him from His heavenly Father … a pain far worse than any torture man had done. This is the Passion of Jesus, poured out, as a light in a dark, hopeless, fearful world.

2015/01/img_1911.jpgThe quote, above, describes what was done on that day, when what Satan intended for evil, destruction and darkness, God turned into hope, light and life.

In the following video (at about 1:17), we see how, even in our physical world, darkness cannot eliminate light, through the description of tomorrow’s lunar eclipse:

“Imagine yourself standing on a dusty lunar plain, looking up at the sky.

Overhead hangs Earth, night side down.

Completely hiding the sun behind it.

The eclipse is underway.

You might expect Earth, seen in this way, to be utterly dark.

But it’s not.

The rim of the planet looks to be on fire.

As you scan your eye across Earth’s circumference, you’re seeing every sunrise, and every sunset in the world, all of them, all at once.

This incredible light beams into the heart of the Earth’s shadow, filling it with a coppery glow and transforming the moon into a great red orb, when viewed from Earth.”

http://youtu.be/_70M4lkLKPk

On this day, as we remember the darkness of our sin, may we also see how that dark day has illuminated the light from it’s shadow.

“There will be no more night.
They will not need the light of a lamp
or the light of the sun,
for the Lord God will give them light.”
Revelation 22:5

 

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Today marks the day that Christians around the globe recognize and remember the sacrificial death of Jesus, leading to His foretold resurrection from the dead on Sunday.

This Good Friday observance is frequently remembered in a funeral-like way, with the recognition of the terrible death, darkness and quiet. It is a very direct opportunity for followers of Christ to come face to face with what Jesus did for us all.

There is another side to Good Friday …

it was

it is

Good!

The horrors of the day that we celebrate were trumped by His miraculous return from the grave on Sunday.

He overcame death!

And, because of Good Friday, we can all overcome death.

Good Friday always brings me back to the foundation, the basics of what I believe, and the song on the video, below, echos what I believe.

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