Remembering Easter…Remembering the Cross

9 04 2009

Hey guys,

 

So I missed sending out the devotional last week because our office was getting remodeled and my computer was tucked away in a closet far from the reaching of my inspiring thoughts.  But I hope you have all had a chance to prepare yourself for this Holy Week. 

 

There are so many distractions to keep us from thinking about what exactly it is we are celebrating this weekend.  The crazy weather has kept us on our toes, the busyness of our lives diverts us from the life in Christ we should be living, the conflicts and tragedies of our world overwhelm us. 

 

Remember what happened at Easter? 

Remember the new birth and reconciliation we can have because of Christ’s death on the cross?

 

Here’s a reading from author Henri Nouwen after reflecting on an Easter service he attended at L’Arche Trosly, a place that enables people with and without disabilities to share their lives in communities of faith and friendship.

 

Good Friday: day of the cross, day of suffering, day of hope, day of abandonment, day of victory, day of mourning, day of joy, day of endings, day of beginnings.

 

During the liturgy at Trosly, Pere Thomas and Pere Gilbert…took the huge cross that hangs behind the altar from the wall and held it so that the whole community could come and kiss the dead body of Christ.  They all came, more than four hundred people – handicapped men and women and their assistants and friends.  Everybody seemed to know very well what they were doing: expressing their love and gratitude for Him who gave His life for them.  As they were crowding around the cross and kissing the feet and head of Jesus, I closed my eyes and could see His sacred body stretched out and crucified upon our planet earth.  I saw the immense suffering of humanity during centuries: people killing each other; people dying from starvation and epidemics; people driven from their homes; people sleeping on the streets of large cities; people clinging to each other in desperation; people flagellated, tortured, burned, and mutilated; people alone in locked flats, in prison dungeons, in labor camps; people craving a gentle word, a friendly letter, a consoling embrace, people…all crying out with an anguished voice: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken us?”

 

Imagining the naked, lacerated body of Christ stretched out over our globe, I was filled with horror.  But as I opened my eyes I saw Jacques, who bears the marks of suffering in his face, kiss the body with passion and tears in his eyes.  I saw Ivan carried on Michael’s back.  I saw Edith coming in her wheelchair.  As they came – walking or limping, seeing or blind, hearing or deaf – I saw the endless procession of humanity gathering around the sacred body of Jesus, covering it with their tears and their kisses, and slowly moving away from it comforted and consoled by such great love…With my mind’s eye I saw the huge crowds of isolated, agonizing individuals walking away from the cross together, bound by the love they have seen with their own eyes and touched with their own lips.  The cross of horror become the cross of hope, the tortured body became the body that gives new life; the gaping wounds become the source of forgiveness, healing, and reconciliation.

 

By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.  There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!  Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.  Now that we are set right with God by means of this sacrificial death, the consummate blood sacrifice, there is no longer a question of being at odds with God in any way. If, when we were at our worst, we were put on friendly terms with God by the sacrificial death of his Son, now that we’re at our best, just think of how our lives will expand and deepen by means of his resurrection life! Now that we have actually received this amazing friendship with God, we are no longer content to simply say it in plodding prose. We sing and shout our praises to God through Jesus, the Messiah!  Rom. 5:1-11 (MSG)

 

Remember?!

 

May you find the joy, peace and hope in our resurrected Lord this week and through out all of your life.

 

To the King!

Katy

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