I had written a different post intended to follow last week's. I wrote it a month ago, knew exactly what I wanted to say. But on this Good Friday, those are not the words I want to speak anymore. Those words may come later, but not today.
This season of Lent leading up to Easter has bookended a year in my life in which I've spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to live under the freedom of Christ, what it means for us to chase after the God of the Bible. Last year, I was thrown into observing Lent with no idea what I was getting myself into. It sparked countless questions about the impact of the daily choices we make, and about the ways we settle for less than God's best. It was good and it was hard, and it was only a flash of the processing that was to come. And as I've stepped consciously back into that place for the last six weeks, it feels a bit like coming home.
I have learned a lot about lament as I've seen people hurt by the communities that were supposed to provide support. I've spent time rejoicing over the fact that God can use even the things that appear darkest to bring us growth and bring Him glory. I've sang in victory with groups of friends-who-are-family. And I've seen the ways in which I fail again and again to let go and trust God with my future. It's been a year.
All these questions have been rattling around inside me; questions of what it means to be a good steward of the resources, the planet, the relationships that have been entrusted to us. Do we do the things we do because they are part of God's original intent for us, or because we've accepted the lie of 'close enough' for so long, we think it's just the way things are supposed to be?
Jesus' life was bookended by a couple of significant events. He was born in a barn, laid among the animals in a town that was not his own. His family fled for their lives, spent the next two years living abroad as refugees hiding from a murderous king. Some birth for the Son of God.
The in-between was full of crossing lines and shaking up the status quo - lived the life of a political and religious radical, touching the untouchable and offering hope to those that he shouldn't have even spoken to: the contagious, the foreign, the female, the poor.
Reaching the end, he endured public humiliation, torture, and a criminal's execution. He was abandoned by his friends, suffered it all. And he breathed his last, crying out in a kind of victorious agony. Some death for the Son of God.
But like in all that he did, there was a purpose. There was a reason for the humility, a plan for the pain. Jesus reached out to us, died so that we could trade our broken relationship with God for intimacy, so that we could trade temporary sacrifices for eternal healing. Because his heart is not for us to live with 'close enough.'
Today, let's sit in the hard places. Let's think and feel deeply. We know how the story ends, but there is great value in remaining here today in hopeful, solemn grief.
The death of Christ is a declaration that says it is finished - let us put this to rest, once and for all.
Our lack of empathy.
Our everything that doesn't point to God.
Let us put them to rest, that we may find true rest in the only one who can bring it. And knowing that, it makes the hope of Sunday and the victory the of the resurrection to come that much sweeter. It makes this Friday, despite it all, good. Hallelujah, what a Savior!