by Joy Lenton
It’s Good Friday. A day unlike any other, as the universe holds its breath. A day filled with sombreness and suspense. And a day when history became reshaped by Christ, His life, witness and death—and rising again to newness of life for us.
A grisly cross miraculously became the greatest ever revelation of divine love. The harrowing death which Jesus undertook on our behalf completely restored our broken relationship with Father God, thus making us His adopted children by our faith in Christ.
In his Rule, St. Benedict tells the monks to “Keep death daily before your eyes.” This invites us into remembrance of our own mortality so we might learn to live with a heightened awareness and deeper gratitude for the wonder, preciousness and brevity of the gift of life itself.
Today, of all days, perhaps, let us not forget, brush aside or hurry past the agony Christ endured. Let us linger and look. Let us try to put ourselves in the place of a spectator to the crucifixion of Christ and ponder these things in our hearts.
It will be hard. It was a brutal act. But maybe, just maybe, revisiting the scene will fill us with awe and gratitude for this hugely symbolic, holy and wholly sacrificial act. And cause us to marvel anew at all that Jesus went through for the love of you and me.
The Cross is the ultimate evidence that there is no length the love of God will refuse to go in effecting reconciliation.” — R. Kent Hughes
This is no tickle on the timber
but a brutal nailing, a pounding
piercing of tender flesh,
with tendons tautly stretched
to their limit, but no breaking
of his bones takes place.
This is no cheap public sideshow
to fill in a gap before you need
to get home again, but a tense
execution wrought in writhing
agony and pain, with blood flowing
freely like red rivulets of rain.
This is no private spectacle
but an eternal moment etched
in our history, a time when time
itself stands still, and heaven weeps,
while Jesus willingly surrenders
to his Father’s glorious will.
This is not a macabre moment
to be shuddered at and forgotten
about, but one to linger over,
as we seek to understand and glean
the truth of its necessity for you
and me—and how it sets us free.
Only in the Cross of Christ will we receive power when we are powerless. We will find strength when we are weak. We will experience hope when our situation is hopeless. Only in the Cross is there peace for our troubled hearts.” — Michael Youssef