O Sacred head now wounded
With grief and shame weighed down
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns Thy only crown
How pale Thou art with anguish
With sore abuse and scorn
How does that visage languish
Which once was bright as morn
— “O Sacred Head Now Wounded”, Bernard of Clairvaux
Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
“The New Testament insists, in book after book, that when Jesus of Nazareth died on the cross, something happened as a result of which the world is a different place…” Continue reading “This Day the Revolution Began”
In doing a basic search for a picture of a closed tomb, I find far more pictures of open tombs… the stone rolled away.
We don’t like the feeling of Good Friday. Somehow, we want some glimmer of hope. Thankfully, we know the end of the story! But on Friday… this day… we need to feel the loss.
Resurrection means nothing until you’ve stood at the grave. Not an open grave with nothing in it. Not a tomb with the stone rolled away.
The tomb has the body. The stone is over the entrance. All you had hoped for is completely gone. We need to feel the loss.
The heavier the loss, the sweeter the victory.
The deeper the darkness, the brighter the light.
When you stand at the occupied tomb, you understand resurrection.
Part of the “practice of resurrection” is to understand a sealed tomb.
38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. (John 19:38-40)
Lord, too often I want the shout of victory without the battle of suffering. I want to feel victory without tasting defeat. That is not your way. Your way leads us past this graveyard. Your way calls us to feel the loss so we may more fully understand the victory. I stand at this tomb today… lost. I leave Good Friday service tonight with a sense of not knowing. Let my soul wait. Let my soul HOPE. There is a deep darkness before the hope of dawn… and I choose to wait… longing for something more.
The darkness of Saturday. Longing for hope.
Whether it’s legal issues in this culture or outright persecution in other places in the world, the Spirit is desperately trying to stir Western Christians into a deeper walk with him. We need our eyes on him. We need our vision full of Christ. The noise of this culture has to give way to the clear voice of our King.
Good Friday is an ideal time to focus. To see the Cross. To see our Savior. To hear his call.
Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. (1 Peter 1:17-20)
Let us remember our true allegiance today. It is the cross. It is the King.
I am preaching on the last word of Christ at the Friday Good Friday service in our community. I am looking at “famous last words” of people. This one is my favorite.