Friday, April 18, 2014
I am alive and thankful. Grace saved me from the judgement I deserve. It is in the heart of a grateful person where the greatest joy is found. I live and breathe life because I am FREE. Many deny Jesus today. Many denied Jesus while He hung on a cross. As for me, once I discovered truth...there was no more denying. He died to take my place. He died to take your place.
Yes, that time you lied. That time you cheated. That time you stole (yup, even office supplies). That time you hated so deeply you wished someone dead. That time you broke the law (darn those speed limit signs!). That time you envied. That time you disrespected your parents. That time you swore a promise...and then you broke it. The affair with a married man. Your vulgar language. That time you drank so much you don't remember how you got home and did it again the next weekend...for six years. All your addictions, including the ones popular culture says "doesn't hurt anyone". The baby whose life you ended. Every day you let pass without actively pursuing the dream God has placed on your heart. Yes, even wasted time because of laziness is considered failure -- sin.
Can you add to the list? Because that list is mine. I own it.
Thankfully, it does not own me.
Because of the Cross.
Today I review every item on my list and nail it to the Cross. Not because I've been held prisoner to it and have never been forgiven but as a reminder. As a human being I forget. Things go well. Life moves on and I forget. We wouldn't need reminders on our smart phones and calenders and phone calls from the doctor's office if we weren't such a forgetful bunch. So today I remind myself. I remember.
I read the words in Scripture. I picture it in my mind. I imagine the brutality until I feel the remorse. Until my eyes swell with repentance and I rush to nail my list to the Cross, including the new ones I've had to add. Yes, the ones I keep going back to. I beg for forgiveness. I beg for Jesus to be taken down from the Cross.
"Please! No more! He doesn't deserve to die for what I did. Not Jesus. He didn't do anything wrong!"
I try to imagine the confusion. I try to imagine what it must have felt like for Peter, James, Matthew, Thomas...Judas. They were His friends. They breathed in every moment with Jesus for three years. Now He was taken from them and hanging on a Cross. This is not how it was supposed to end!
I imagine Mary, His mother. Her son brutalized and hanging, naked on a Roman execution Cross. But God said her son was the Chosen One. She felt Him move during her pregnancy. She birthed Him. Nursed and clothed Him. She even lost Him once. Joseph died and left her as a widow. What would he say to her if he saw the Child he adopted hanging by nails, flesh dripping? How does a mother grieve when death has not yet snatched life but waits? Does she remember the words Simeon spoke to her at the temple when Jesus was days old?
"...And a sword will pierce your own soul too"
I imagine John when Jesus entrusts His mother to his care. I imagine the Roman soldiers and the Centurion. Perhaps the same government official whose son was cured was also the one standing at the foot of the Cross, wondering how this could be?
I imagine the Pharisees mocking. And I remember a time I did as well.
I imagine the moment the skies grow dark and the earth shakes and the words "It is finished" echos through hearts as tears form rivers from those who loved Jesus. I feel my own. My heart rips in two as I imagine the curtain in the temple did.
Jesus has died. He died because of the collective me.
What now? Has hope also died? What about the promise? The prophecies? Jesus' words? His miracles? His teachings? His laughter? His presence? His friendship? Agonizing grief of a loved one gone settles in. What now?
I let myself absorb. I remind my heart because it is in the reminding that the forgotten becomes real again, fresh. Today I remember the sacrifice. Today I remember the agony. Today I remember the why. Today I remember death. Today I remember a sealed tomb. Today I remember the hiding and the weeping. Today I remember the anguish.
Today I remember my sins nailed Jesus to the Cross.
Today is Friday...but Sunday's a coming.