By Joy Lenton
Who of us would choose to die? To leave a life we’ve grown rather fond of, to be tugged away from loved ones? Yet in being Christ followers we are all called to die to self on a daily basis, to relinquish our way to God’s way, to surrender to what so often feels like a living death in order that we can live well to a deathless, eternal life.
Eternity beckons. We have a calling here that stretches beyond confines of time itself. A work which seeps into the lives of others while we inhabit flesh and when we’re reduced again to dust and ashes.
Lent lends itself to introspection. A focus on fasting and seeing those things we are also hungering for. It helps to shape and define the deeper thoughts inside. Death haunts our hearts because the spectre of the cross looms large before our inner eyes.
It’s no mean thing to willingly enter into death’s dark hallways. It’s an act of supreme love and grace when the very act of doing so is redemptive for the human race.
God-made-flesh carried that burden and awesome, individual privilege. Jesus came to earth to bring us living birth at the cost of embracing death for us. He carried the weight of the world, all its heartache, heartbreak, sin, guilt, shame and pain.
Jesus took all of humanity’s dross and nailed it firmly to the cross as thorns pierced His brow and nails nagged at frail flesh, and a spear rent His side. He yielded Himself with an act of supreme willing obedience that momentarily tore His tender heart away from His Father, who could not bear to look at His sin-bearing Son. The curtain was broken. A gap in time and eternity appeared.
I fail to fully take it in, finding fathomless depths to an unfathomable moment in our history. For who can truly understand what Jesus deliberately sacrificed to die for us?
Our reassurance is that it was an act conceived and carried out by Love Incarnate, the only way by which we can be reconciled to Holy God. There was no extraction here because Jesus willingly laid down His life to offer us the promise of salvation and hope of eternal life.
No one took it from Him, although the Roman soldiers probably thought they did. This was a beautiful, sinless life knowingly offered as sacrifice, as ransom payment for the sins of the world. This has the heavy ache of holy seen in our ordinary. This is where we fall to our knees…
No extraction here
There is no extraction here
Only rainbow refraction sending
splinters of Light everywhere
But only those beyond the veil
can view its dazzling beauty
seen skywards like entrails
Sharp pierce of thorns bleeding
serve only to allow escape
as mercy and love flow freely
Forgiveness floods like blood
running from head to toe
returning to heaven above
God Incarnate gasps and dies
Willingly gives up the ghost
to receive fresh Breath of life
Thank you for allowing your one and only begotten Son to become death for us.
We linger long at the foot of the cross, marvelling anew at all Jesus willingly went through on our behalf.
We pause and pray and stay transfixed by such amazing grace.
We desire to give our all for the One who gave His all to set us free from sin and shame, who laid aside His holy majesty and awes us by the mention of His Name.
Help us to sense even a smidgeon of what it means.
Enable us to live well in the light of the glorious cross.
May we see its necessity in setting us free.
And live lives worthy of being your adopted, blood-bought sons and daughters.