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Track the story with your eyes

by davesandel on April 2nd, 2021

Friday, April 2, 2021               (today’s lectionary)

Good Friday of the Lord’s Passion

Track the story with your eyes

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Oh, ooooh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they laid him in the grave? Were you there when he rose up from the dead? Oh, ooooh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

My servant shall startle many nations. Because of him kings shall stand speechless, and even those who have not been told shall see.

This Jesus we know of and have sometime seen is the “Lord” the song speaks of. For decades this has been one of my friend Don’s favorite songs, maybe even his very favorit-est. Jesus was the son of Mary and Joseph, and of God, and we sing songs and write poetry about him, this man made from God. Our theology pales before the story, and we have scrambled for centuries to understand what we don’t have any business understanding.

He grew up like a sapling, like a shoot out of parched earth, with no stately bearing, no attractive appearance. Spurned and avoided, we held this man of suffering in no esteem. But he was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that makes him whole, and by his stripes we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Even when betrayed, stopped, arrested and accused, Jesus did little to defend himself.

In his harsh treatment he was silent. He did not open his mouth.

The story unfolded as you would expect. In only a few hours, Jesus was accused, tortured, condemned and killed. How could this be any kind of heavenly plan?

Jesus went out with his disciples to where there was a garden, where Judas kissed him and betrayed him. “Shall I not drink the cup my Father has given me?” Jesus said. To Pilate, Jesus said, “My kingdom does not belong to this world, but everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” What is truth, Pilate asked, and found no guilt in him. Regardless, Jesus was whipped and crowned with thorns, and even then the crowd cried, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate handed him over to be crucified. And they took Jesus.

I stand in the middle of the crowd. The sun beats down at noon. I look through the dust and heads, so many of us turned toward the crosses rather than away. It’s not us being killed.

I can’t seem to close my eyes. What is happening to life as Jesus dies?

When Christ was in the flesh, he offered prayers with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard. Son though he was, he learned obedience in his suffering, obedience to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Slowly I make my way through the hungry people and toward the crest of Golgotha. I can’t tear my eyes away from Jesus. I look up into the sun.

Jesus saw his mother and the disciple that he loved. He said, “Woman, behold thy son,” and he said, “Son, behold thy mother.” He said “I thirst,” and was given wine. He said, “It is finished,” and bowing his head he gave up the spirit.

Tears fill my eyes. Clouds fill the sky. Jesus turns his face toward heaven and his breaths come slow, heavy, labored.

Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. I am forgotten as are the unremembered dead. I am like a dish that is broken. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. Let your face shine.

Jesus hands himself over to his Father. I watch without understanding. Death seems so near and so strong, while life is lost and life is conquered, Jesus’ broken body carried away by those who loved him. I bow my head and close my eyes.

Joseph and Nicodemus took the body of Jesus and laid it in a new tomb nearby, in a garden.

Lord, teach me how to pray when all seems lost.

(Isaiah 52-53, Psalm 31, Hebrews 4, Philippians 2, John 18-19)

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