It's Good Friday. Holy Week is a blur this year. We've had company from Iowa this week, and my youngest is leaving with her class for a trip to D.C. on Sunday. It's been very hard to find any mental time to consider the meaning of this week. And I woke up this morning with absolutely nothing in my brain to blog about.
So, what do I do when I need focus and inspiration? I turn to other inspiring people.
Like David Platt, author of the book Radical and pastor who does the "Secret Church" series that you can find online. In his session on "The Cross and Christ", he talks about the Divine Dilemma: how can God be true to his nature -- be unconditionally loving and be absolutely just -- with sinful man?
How can God be just and righteous and yet forgive sins, pass over sins? That's where we see that . God is displaying His justice. He is demonstrating His righteousness. Why did Jesus die on the cross? Who did Jesus die for? He died for me? Certainly. Died for you? Certainly, but not ultimately. Ultimately, Christ died for God. The cross is ultimately centered around a demonstration of the character of God. said, "If I would appreciate the blood of Christ I must accept God's valuation of it, for the blood is not primarily for me but for God.” We need to hear this.
And people like J.S. Bach. In my husband's hometown, Bach's "Passion of St. Matthew" is performed every Good Friday. I attended last year, and even though I've performed in it before, I was particularly moved this time. I kept the program with the lyrics printed in it and used them as devotional reading for several nights. Wonderful words . . . like these, responding to the disciples falling asleep in the Garden:
I would beside my Lord be watching
That evil draw me not astray
The sweet melody adds a lot. But yes, oh, Lord, would that I could be always watching beside You that evil draw me not astray.
And people like A.W. Tozer. In his amazing book, The Radical Cross, he describes how the church has watered down the cross from a thing of death to a thing of beauty:
When men made of it a symbol, hung it around their necks as an ornament or made its outline before their faces as a magic sign to ward off evil, then it became at best a weak emblem, at worst a positive fetish. As such it is revered today by millions who know absolutely nothing about its power.
The cross effects its ends by destroying one established pattern, the victim's, and creating another pattern, its own. . . It never compromises, never dickers nor confers, never surrenders a point for the sake of peace. . . So the cross not only brings Christ's life to an end, it ends also the first life, the old life, of every one of His true followers. It destroys the old pattern, the Adam pattern, in the believer's life, and brings it to an end. Then the God who raised Christ from the dead raises the believer and a new life begins.
This, and nothing less, is true Christianity . . .
Amen. I wish I could write like this.
Have a blessed Good Friday everyone, remembering the true meaning of the cross -- and a blessed Easter celebrating the new life He rose to bring us!