In April, we will be discussing the topic: Being Made New and Whole. Both of these can only be accomplished through the cross of Jesus and His once and for all payment or atonement of our sins. This is what a couple of dear friends will be writing about in the coming weeks. And this, my friend, is why we celebrate Easter!
I sit here on this “Good Friday” morning with the sun barely up, the birds starting their song and my heart set on embracing the depth of meaning and significance of this day in Christian history. Okay, so that may be a little too ambitious and quite an impossible goal for anyone this side of eternity, but I am simply asking the Father to show me what the cross means for me, in my smallness, in 2018.
I reflect on the Gospels and the accounts there about Jesus’ birth, life, ministry and I wonder if the disciples felt like their lives were going well. They knew that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah (they had testified to that), that He was their Savior and that they were happy to be with Him. When Jesus began telling them that He would be killed and scorned and betrayed soon, I am sure they were shocked but not as shocked as they would be when they saw Him taken from their presence, beaten, mocked and ultimately nailed to a cross.
This is where we have to stop the narrative….why? Because I believe so many dear ones are living this existence over and over and over today. And what we’ve termed “Good Friday” because of what happened next, did not resemble “good” 2000 years ago on that dark and horrifying day and it doesn’t seem “good” today as many wake up day after day with the same devastation around them as they did yesterday.
I want to be still here. I don’t want to move hastily to the next part of the narrative. For real life stops in pain, right? I want to ask the Lord to allow us to fully pause on this day and come face to face with the awful sin and of our broken hearts in this sin-corrupted world.
Upon moving, I have unpacked so many boxes. I did not recognize the one odd-shaped, taped up box with styrofoam plates used as padding and so curiously, I opened it first! I discovered a stained glass window that was supposedly salvaged from my Great Grandmother’s house. This window is fragile, many small pieces are missing and the larger pieces have been held together with masking tape. As I sat looking at that window, I sensed that it is an accurate picture of so many lives. Small broken pieces missing and the majority of our bigger wounds, hurts and brokenness held together by “masking tape”. We’ve covered up, we’ve pushed down and we have smiled and kept going. All the while the broken pieces of our hearts and lives are fragile and barely holding together. Shard glass, darkened by grief and pain lie idle within us. But remember dear one, the beauty of a stained glass window is only recognized and appreciated as it is hung in front of the light.
Back to the cross. Today we need to be willing to stop, to be still and to absorb the truth that the darkest day, the day when our worst fears become our current realities, the day when everything we eagerly hoped would happen seems like a terrible cosmic joke and we are instead, gasping for a breath to make it through the hour, the day when we are so sad and so broken and we look on as if we are bystanders to the greatest tragedy only to realize that it’s our own life and circumstances…..on this day, Jesus Christ is still there!
When the cross raises high, the crucified One moans for you. When the nails drive deep, your name is written in His scars. When that head is pricked by a thorny crown, His thoughts are about you. When the breath gets shallow, He’s praying for you. When the darkness seems overwhelming and others mock His plans and your hope is hanging on by a thread, let it be the thread to His royal robe. He is there. He has a plan. Even in the death of dreams, of your plans and people — He is there and He is doing something marvelous, even something sacred.
The light will shine again, the rocks will split, the curtain will tear, the joy will burst forth and those pieces lying on the ground, the remains of your stained glass window will serve as a display of glorious proportions telling the story of His love and grace and healing.
Only after the resurrection could the disciples or we as Christians call that terrible day “Good Friday”. Come to the cross today and allow the disappointment, the frustration, the sadness, and the hopelessness to be fully absorbed there. For Good News is only “good” after you have recognized the awful and bad news.
Come to the Light, my friend. Bring the broken pieces and watch Jesus remove the masking tape and let His power and love mend your life and heart. I am confident that the glorious display of grace over your shattered heart will be magnificent!
“Even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.”
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and lie to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
1 Peter 2:24-25
“But he was pierced for our transgressions;
He was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.”