Death, Darkness, and the Fallacy of “Good” Friday

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Today is Good Friday.  A day that is only good in hindsight, and even then it’s obscured through darkness, pain and difficulty.

Today is the day that Jesus entered fully into our darkness to provide a way out. It’s today that when we look upon Jesus and his sacrifice we realize how unable we are to make our lives work as we would want. We see our struggle for coherence, meaning, and power. We see in Jesus’ naked body nailed to the cross our own betrayals of friends and family. We see how our desire to create empires of meaning and worth are empty, and filled with dust and dirt. We ask ourselves “what have we become”?  We look at our lives in light of the sacrifice of Jesus, and we are moved to silence. We see God die and ask ourselves why, and when does the darkness break? But the darkness won’t break for another three days.

For three days doubt, darkness and death reign.

So today is not an easy day. Today is not a good day. Today is though a necessary day.

Today, like on a day many years ago Jesus’ body was broken, like bread, so that we might be made whole.  Jesus poured his life out, like wine, as a sacrifice for our sins. Jesus gave up his life so that we might find it.

This is the message of today: life, breath, blood and brokenness all mix together so that in the end death might be beaten. But on this day we remember that before death was beaten, it seemed as if it had won. Before darkness lost its final battle, the light of the world was lost. So today we remember that before light and love burst forth…they went through death and darkness…

Lenten Reflections: Stations of the Cross, 14

Station 14: Jesus Body is Laid in the Tomb

Written Reflection:

The body of Jesus is taken to its resting place. At the very moment when he seems furthest from glory, when life seems darkest, hope is closest. Cold stone surrounds and imprisons his dead body. But we know that nothing can hold Jesus’ power of life over death. Reflect on how at the darkest moment life was closest to bursting forth. And if there is any difficulties in your life remember in this moment that life is never far away

Lenten Reflections: Station 13

Station 13: Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross

Written Reflection:

The body of Jesus is taken to its resting place. At the very moment when he seems furthest from glory, when life seems darkest, hope is closest. Cold stone surrounds and imprisons his dead body. But we know that nothing can hold Jesus’ power of life over death. Reflect on how at the darkest moment life was closest to bursting forth. And if there is any difficulties in your life remember in this moment that life is never far away

Lenten Reflections: Stations of the Cross 12

Station 12: Jesus Dies on the Cross

Written Reflection:

Jesus breathe becomes slow and ragged. He cries out in a loud voice, “Father into your hands I commend my spirit”. And his drops heavily onto his chest, and his spirit and body shudder and Jesus dies. Look up to him hanging on the cross. Look up see the pain, the hurt, the disgrace. Look up and see our salvation. As you look share with him any of your deepest fears, needs, or hurts. Because this is a God who understands loss, hope, pain, and hurt. Share with our savior

Lenten Reflections: Stations of the Cross, Station 11

Station 11: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

Written Reflection:

Spikes are nailed into Jesus hands and feet. Flesh is torn, blood is seen, and pain is felt. With each nail waves of pain come over Jesus. This is a God who feels. This is a God who suffers. This is not a God removed from the world, but one that enters into it for you and for me. Can there be any pain and agony our Jesus would not understand? Spend time with Jesus today sharing your hurts, your wounds, your struggles because our God knows what it is like to go through pain. Share you struggles and let Jesus uplift you today

Lenten Reflections: Stations of the Cross, Station 7

Jesus falls for the 2nd time…

Written Reflection:

With each step Jesus takes the weight continues to grow. It grows to much, and Jesus falls to the ground. His knees scrap the earth, and his face hits the dust. Maybe he remembers the verse, “from dust you can and to dust you will return” He catches a raspy dust filled breath before he is forced to continue.

Store up this image in your heart and mind. Though he felt alone in the dust we never have to because of his sacrifice. Jesus is on the ground, so that we might be raised up. This is for me and this is for you. Jesus breathes in dust, so that he might breathe out life.

Today take a deep breathe and breathe in life. As you do reflect on this: you have been given a gift from Jesus how might you show him gratitude today.

Sacrifice, Car Rides, and the Cross

This is Passion Week, which literally means the week of suffering. This is something we often forget as Christians. That to follow Christ means following him to the cross. That’s the hard part of following Christ. That it involves sacrifice and doing the “right thing” which is often a very hard thing to do.

Late Sunday night I was driving Hudson home from some amazing friends of ours. And it was just Hudson and I. As we were driving home well past his bedtime Hudson wanted to talk. So he asked, “Where’s Mommy?” I said, “she was with your aunt”.  He then asked, “Where’s daddy” And I said, “I’m right here with you.”  And he asked me the favorite kid question, “why?” I answered “because that’s where mommy’s and daddy’s belong right with you.” And then I promised him, “that’s where we will always be, right with you,  mommy and daddy will love you no  matter what.”

But isn’t that exactly the point of Passion Week? Promises like that are easy to say but hard to live out. Promises like that require sacrifice, but it is those promises that matter and give life. It’s promises like that that led Jesus to the cross, by him promising to be with us all the way no matter what. He was so “with us” that he took our sin, shame, and death for us. His being with us required sacrifice.

That’s the hard part of doing the right thing: it always requires sacrifice.

If I am going to be true to my promise to Hudson it will require sacrifice. It’s easy to walk with him, support him, and care for him now. But keeping that promise will be more difficult as he gets older.

But the point for us during this Passion Week is that some things are worth sacrificing for. Some people are worth sacrificing for. In fact, God shows us that all people are worth sacrificing for. That’s the story of Easter. That sacrifices may not be easy, but they are worthwhile. And God’s made one for you, because you matter to him.

So if we are following him, how can you follow his example? Who can you sacrifice yourself for because they matter?

Because while sacrifice isn’t often easy to do, it is the right thing to do…