02 April 2010

Good Friday

The season of Lent is coming to a close.

There is a strange tension that we feel during this time of year.  All around us, winter is breaking apart, and spring is breaking through.  But Lent is about death.

The massive snow piles that have dominated my ramp at work for the past few months are gone, replaced with mud, and my airplanes are no longer coming back with sticky slick puddles of de-ice fluid dripping from them.

All around us, the world is waking back up with new life:  I can now see the pile of leaves in my front yard that I didn't rake last fall.  My tulips are pushing through the rock garden, and our cottonwood and maple tree are budding.  The days are getting longer and warmer, and The Boy is trying to spend every possible minute outside.

It is strange, then, in this season of new life, that we should focus on death, but that is precisely what Lent is about.

During the buildup to Easter, we focus on what makes us most in need of a Savior.  We prayerfully consider our sin, and some abstain from certain things to tangibly express the sacrifice of Christ.  In order to fully accept our Savior and our salvation, we examine the dark corners of our heart.  We dig out the junk that needs to be dug out, we sweep up the cobwebs that have built up.

And then today, Good Friday, we walk it down the Way of Suffering, and we place it on Calvary, at the foot of the Cross.

We humbly ask for forgiveness as Jesus looks down at us in Love.

We beg him to remember us when He comes into His Kingdom, despite our flaws, despite our sin, despite all our junk that we brought here.

And He tells us, we broken, dirty sinners, that "Today, you will be with Me in Paradise."

We call it Good Friday, for on this day Creation was redeemed back to God.

But the symbol of this Good Friday is a cross.

A symbol of Death.



Today it seemed as if the world and the powers that be had won.  The disciples scattered.  Their teacher hung by his bleeding arms as a reminder to anyone else who would dare challenge the status quo.  His few family watched and cried in horror as their brother and son slowly and painfully died.  The Roman soldiers had seen this before and ignored the cries of pain as they had hundreds of times previous.

This whole Messiah thing didn't seem like it was working out very well.

But Jesus called out "It is finished!"

He willingly gave His life back to God.  It wasn't the final gasping breath of a man fighting to remain alive.  It wasn't the final choking words of one who didn't want to die.  It was, in the end, a willing sacrifice of atonement, the final lamb to be slaughtered for the sins of Israel and all of humanity.  The man who had lived his whole life wholly within the will of God, who for the past three years had knowingly set himself up for this moment, let God take his life as a final act of sacrifice.

At the Temple, the curtain was torn in two:  No longer were people separated from God.  All people now had equal access to Him.  The separation that Adam and Eve had brought down was no longer there.

And it truly was a Good day.


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