Friday, April 18, 2014

When Holy Week is Lived

On Sunday Christ weeps.  He sees Jerusalem and cries out for the Israelites know not the way of peace.  They long to be freed from their human oppressors; they cling to their victim-hood and want only a messiah who will punish their perpetrator and bring about what they call justice.  They will kill the messiah who comes to bear all people’s sin, for in his naming their sin, they are unmasked. 

On Thursday Christ gives.  He breaks the bread which is his body.  He passes the cup which is his blood.  He gives because he has given himself.  And he will give himself.  God and man have been reconciled in his person.  And God and man will be reconciled. 

On Friday Christ bears away.  He has borne our sin as surely and as soon as he assumed our fallen flesh.  And now, on the cross, he bears it away.  Sin is crucified.  Death dies.  And death will die.

On Saturday, silence as we wait.  Long silence. Loud silence.  And we will wait.

On Sunday Christ creates.  Our flesh made new!  The firstborn of all creation.  Humanity recreated and restored.  Reconciled to God in the incarnation.  Reconciled to God in the resurrection.  He has been raised.  And we will be raised.

Christ has borne our sin and he has borne it away.  In his life, death, and resurrection, he has bent our alienated, distorted flesh back to obedience in adoration.  Our fallen humanity, which he assumed, has been reconciled to God from cradle to cross, from grave to resurrection.  

We’ve been included in his weeping.  We’ve received from his giving.  
We’ve died in his dying. We’ve waited for his coming. We’ve lived in his living.  
We weep.  
We receive.  
We wait.  
We die.  
We live.   
We will weep no more.  We will receive in full.  We will never die.  
The wait will be over.  We will live forevermore in Life Himself.

The resurrection opens wide the gates of suffering, promising we will live though we die. 
Suffering can kill us because it cannot kill us.  
We can weep bitterly because we will not weep.  
Pain demands to be felt, suffering demands we allow ourselves to suffer.
Feel, love, you are allowed to feel.  The cross and the resurrection say, freely feel what must be felt.  The resurrection frees you to suffer all the way to the grave, dear. 
The agony of the cross is not erased by the joy of the resurrection.  Don’t erase it.

Saturday is for suffering, brother.  Saturday is for suffering, sister. 
Saturday is for participating in Christ’s suffering.  
When Friday steals your words, Saturday is for silence.
Because Sunday will come. 
But Sunday never steals Saturday’s silence.
He likes your silence, for there he speaks.
While you wait, weeping will do.  
What cannot be said will be wept.*
So weep.
And he will speak.  But first there will be silence. 

Death spoke and she has been silenced.  Death speaks and she will be silenced.  
The Word has spoken the final word.  And the Word will speak the final word.  
And death has died.  And death will die.  

Already. But not yet. 
So we weep.
And we rejoice.
And we are called, Sorrowful yet Always Rejoicing. 
Your heart must sing an honest song.  
Let it sing the honest song of sorrowful yet always rejoicing. 
Already, but not yet.  And we’re tired of the not yet.
So we say Maranatha. 
Come quickly Lord Jesus.

East of Eden and West of the New Jerusalem hurts like hell.  
But in his great mercy and kindness, Christ gives himself to us-and in tangible ways, no less.
Word.  Baptism.  Supper.  
He lets us taste and see that he is good. 
What grace in giving us creaturely means of being nourished by him 
so that when our hearts hurt so badly,
and our minds doubt what is true,
and our faith falters,
all that we lack is given to us--truly given--to see, and smell, and touch, and taste.
And we lack no good thing.
For Christ is ours and we are his.
We’ve heard the gospel in the preached word.  
We’ve felt the gospel all over our bodies in baptism.
We’ve tasted the gospel in the bread and wine.
We’ve received the gospel.  We’ve received Jesus the Christ.
We came to the table with nothing. And received everything.
And we lack no good thing.

Is your faith weak, brother?  
Flee from it and into the arms of the Faithful One.
Is your heart riddled with unbelief, sister?
Flee to the Believing One.
He has risen.  In your flesh.  
His repentance is yours.  His obedience is yours.  His life is yours.
He is yours; and you are His.
He has gathered you up into himself.  And he will never let you go.  
He loves you more than he loves himself.   
He has willed to not be who he is apart from you.
And he will not be without you.

Saturday is long.  And the silence is loud.
But all shall be well.
And all shall be well.
And all manner of things shall be well.** 

How great is your goodness
that you have stored up for those
who fear you...
You hide them in the protection of your presence. (Ps.31)

When Friday hurts,
and when Saturday is silent,
and while we wait for Sunday to come,
we are hidden in the protection of his presence.
We are hidden in Christ.
And we wait.  Weeping.  Glad in him.
Sorrowful yet always rejoicing.

Because he will heal the broken hearted.
He will bind up their wounds.
He will save those crushed in spirit. (Ps.34)
Indeed, all of the promises of God 
are “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ Jesus. (2 Cor.1:20)
We will be healed.
We will be bound up.
We will be saved.

The life of God has been opened up to us.  Christ has taken on our flesh and he will never be apart from us.  God and man have been forever united in the God-Man.  Our fallen flesh has been borne and borne away in the person of Christ.  Jesus of Nazareth has curved our broken bodies back into gladness, back into obedience, back into thankful worship, back into relationship with the Father.  

Incarnation.  Death.  Resurrection.  Ascension.  
Reception.  Participation.  Awaiting consummation.  

And we who are called, Sorrowful Yet Always Rejoicing,
cry out together, Maranatha, Come quickly Lord Jesus. 

*Sappho, a Greek Poet.
**Julian of Norwich

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