Friday, March 29, 2013

In Remembrance of Me

We're getting so close to our destination on this journey through Lent.

Last night, the Rabbi broke bread and shared wine with his followers, telling them that his body will be broken like that, his blood will be shed.

Do this in remembrance of Me.

Today the Messiah hangs from pieces of metal driven through his body; from a crooked tree between two thieves. The slow, awful sound of iron pounding through flesh, into wood. The mother weeps over her shattered dreams; she has seen her Child tortured, beaten, and hung. This pure God-Man drips with his own blood, the flies come, the people laugh.

But still these earthly agonies cannot compare to the absolute darkness when Yahweh turns His back. There had never been a moment as terrible and there never will be again. All creation groaned as the Creator turned away because He could not keep on looking at our filthy mess.

Eloi, eloi lama sabachthani? An utterly human cry of anguish from the lips of God, Himself.

And the disciples still do not understand.

The rich young Ruler strips Himself, dirties Himself, speaks with prostitutes, washes feet.

The first will be last, and the last will be first.

We are sons of the King, and we are slaves to each other.

For us to live, Someone must die.

And they still do not understand. They don't know, as S.M. Lockridge put it, that "Sunday's comin".

They return to their city --- a city with a dark soul. Betrayal, denial, deception, cruelty. That's all they will see. They understand now that this world is a bloody mess. But they don't understand that that's why He came.

Be ready for the world to suck everything out of you, and know that it will. We live in a smashed place surrounded by broken people. Here, kids decide life isn't worth living anymore and so they stop living. Here, people pull growing children out of their wombs to get rid of them. Here, boys shoot babies. Here, their mothers gasp for breath and it takes everything they have to go on. And some don't go on.

Try explaining that. Try explaining, to them, this hell they're living.

But this is the middle of the story. And for now, all of this is part of the cost. For now, "to love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken." (C.S. Lewis). Broken hearts are a price we pay for love. But love is worth that. And "Sunday's comin."

Now we cry, but not alone. Our Savior cries with us. For now we are mangled, but He was mangled too. He doesn't leave us to our sufferings. Instead, He came and lived our sufferings.

Now we see in a glass darkly, but then face-to-face.  Now we only know in part, but what we can know now is that He came because He loves us. He came to fix the shambles we've made of this world.

They laughed because they had killed the King of the Jews. They were convinced that if He really were God, then He could have come down off of that cross. And if He could have come down off of that cross, then He would have. But He didn't.

In order for death to work backwards, He had to commit His spirit into the hands of His Father.

It is finished. 


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