Good Friday

We are nearly at the end of our Lenten journey. Forty days ago my forehead was marked with the sign of the cross and the reminder, "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, in dying we rise."  
Lent is a very counter-cultural concept. We don't like to focus on suffering, death, or our own mortality. Yet, we can't escape it.

This year during the Sundays of Lent our pastor has offered the opportunity to have ashes marked on our foreheads or palms if we so desire. I have been surprised that most of the young preschool and Kindergarten aged children are often the first in line.

For them, I'm guessing, there's something they connect with in the physical touch and symbol. Getting their head marked with an ashen cross is a way they can participate in worship.

Yet, it's also a disturbing juxtaposition: young life beginning to bloom being marked with death. I don't like to think about my own mortality, yet alone my children's. I don't want to think about the suffering and maybe even persecution that could face them some day.

Good Friday makes that inescapable, though. There is the cross. There is suffering. There is death. There is God's Son in the midst of it all, bearing it all upon Himself.

And it's my sins that put Him there. He died with the weight of my disobedience, lust, anger, fear, resentment, dishonesty, and pride holding Him to the cross. The cross was mine to bear. My actions are not always life-producing; my sins bring death to my soul. But He hung there in my place.

It doesn't make sense to me. I don't think I'm worth that. But Jesus did it not to shame or guilt me, but simply because He loves me. Love. Period.

As I see the Christ hanging there--bleeding, suffering, dying--I feel a deep sense of sorrow. Sorrow for my twisted nature. Sorrow that I don't quickly learn, but that I keep doing the same dumb things. Sorry for how I have hurt others through my sins.

But I also feel a deeper sense of gratefulness. I know I am loved. I know I am forgiven. I know that someday all will be made right. 

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