Usually on Good Friday there is a film about Jesus' journey to the Cross. The portrayal is often bloody and tear rendering. Personally as I have a very vivid imagination I feel every moment in my being. I struggle with the thoughts of Jesus being in so much pain and at the intensity of man as he delights in the torture of another human being.
Good Friday however, is ever present in our lives today.
With our tongues we become the soldier lashing Jesus.
"I hate you" - stripe one
"You are stupid" - stripe two
"Why cant you be like your sister/brother?" - stripe three
"Why do you never try?" - stripe four
"You are rubbish" - stripe five
"Get out of my sight" - stripe six
"You are a jerk" - stripe seven
"I hope you get a terminal disease" - stripe eight
"Curse you" - stripe nine
"I cant stand you" - stripe ten
"I wish you were dead" - stripe eleven
"Your face makes me sick" - stripe twelve
The list goes on and on. Every time we speak in anger we are lashing Jesus because we are taking offence at his creation, man, whom Jesus sacrificed himself for.
Jesus was very clear about the use of the tongue. Matt 5:22
But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgement! If you can call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.
With this warning in mind, let us try and remember that our tongue is as brutal as the lash on Jesus' back.
May we be reminded today of the tongues that once praised Jesus for his healing touch, turned quickly to shouts of "crucify him".
Father give us tongues that heal rather than tongues of criticism and pain. May my tongue transform people rather than hurt them. Father, I am the soldier that scourged you, forgive me and place a guard on my tongue. Help me from today to praise you and give glory to You and Your Love.
Luke 22:42 Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.
Jesus fell to the ground. The weight of his impending death fully in his mind's eye. He did not want to die.
This is an image of a truly human response to a traumatic time ahead. Jesus knew of his demise. He wanted to live.
Jesus wanted to escape the pain of dying. In his prayer he calls upon God to take away this chalice. His agony can be felt through the waves of humanity. Would you be able to take on this call to die for sinners, past, present and future? This is the weight Jesus felt at this moment as he prayed to His Father.
If you have experienced your own child dying, you know the pain of watching a beloved part of you cling on to life, before finally accepting the moment of peace and calm that becomes acceptance.
Jesus knew that acceptance, when he continued his prayer yet not my will, but yours be done. Praying this prayer of release gave Jesus, as God, the full power of divinity. His acceptance allowed God to fulfill His plan of Salvation.
Jesus was not weak in his prayer, he was human. His human nature called on God to grant him His Strength as he knew that his human strength was not enough.
As we celebrate Holy Thursday let us remember the human Jesus. Let us watch and pray with Him as he struggles with his divine mission.
Jesus knows our heavy hearts, he understands our prayers for things to be taken away when the burden feels too much. Jesus has given us the prayer to say when we collapse and cry out. Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.
God heard the prayer and answered. He will do the same for you and me too. God is fully united in our lives, just as He was when Jesus was human.
I cannot take credit for writing this piece, but it spoke to my heart and I felt that it needed to be shared. The comment is taken from Reflections on The Runcorn Passion - by Ten Ten Theatre. You think of me as God Almighty, with a memory that stores up all your sins until the final judgement – but I forget your sins so quickly. I forgive and I forget.
Another thing you have misunderstood is sin itself. Don’t think of sin as simply breaking laws. Sin is about you and me. It’s all about forgetting you are my child – turning your back on me, going your own way and refusing to turn back.
I know you’ve sinned of course – but that makes me open wide my arms and think “My child, you’re far more important to me than anything you’ve done”
As long as you believe I love you, nothing can come between us – as long as you remember you are the child of a forgiving God.
You know something? I never even punish sin. Sin punishes itself. Its consequences hurt. You make your own problems here on earth when you reject my open arms, when you refuse the gift of my forgiveness.
But I don’t punish. I’m a God who loves and saves and gives you life in all its fullness. Remember that – and remember you’re my child.
When that sinks in – when you can see that you’re the precious child of a forgiving, loving God – you’ve grasped the very heart of the good news my Son has come to bring.
While I know myself as a creation of God. I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God's creation. Maya Angelou Every time we forget this statement we drive another nail in to Christ's hand. Christ brings us all to God, in Unity may we honour His creation.
I am such a fool. Why? Because I have been trying to plant God's seed instead of letting God do the planting.
Let me explain. Abraham had two sons. One by his maidservant, Hagar and one by his wife, Sarah. Abraham took it into his own hands to become a father so he gave his seed to Hagar and produced a son. But God wanted Abraham to understand that God's seed was above all human effort and He gave His seed to Sarah and she produced a son.
God told Abraham that he would have a son. Abraham decided that that was impossible so he took matters into his own hands.
But for God nothing is impossible and He did give Abraham a son through his aging wife. This was the son God wanted for Abraham. A son born from God's Promise, from His Grace. God showed Abraham that He wanted to grow Himself into Abraham to produce the seed. It would be from this seed that Abraham would become the father of nations.
Abraham thought the only way he could have a son was by his own actions. He did not understand the Promise that God had given him.
Do we? Do I?
God wants to grow Christ in us. He wants us to have Christ as our land. He doesn't need our help to produce Christ in us. What he does need is our co-operation. Our submission to God's promises. God wants to bring forth Christ in us so that God can fulfill his purpose.
When God tells us He is going to do something we must do nothing. Why, because we need to leave the doing to God so that Christ in us can fulfill God's purpose. God does not need help to produce the seed. We are vessels, chosen by Him to be filled by Him, so that His purpose can be poured out as He wants.
Look at Abraham again, it was only through Sarah's son that Abraham became the Father of nations. Not through Hagar's son.
God delights in Christ. It is through Christ that His will is accomplished. With God working on us, in us, through us in Christ, Christ can be brought forth out of us and God's promises fulfilled. Not by our actions but by God's.
When I look at my life and wonder why things are not happening, my reaction is to do something, like Abraham, even when God has said He will action it. Because of this I have missed the purpose of the Promise of Grace. I have forgotten that God can and will do the right thing for me through Christ.
I am a strong woman, my life has made me strong, but it has also made me a fool. It has led me to believe in my solutions, my getting things done. I have failed to let God's Grace, His seed, Christ, work on me, in me, and through me for God's purposes.
Father God, free and save me from my efforts, I need do nothing to help You. Please help me to submit to you through Christ to accomplish Your purpose. Help me to live under the Promise of Grace.
Lord bring me to the point where "I want to do Your will! You are within me and You must enable me to do Your will. I am not here to do Your will by myself! It must be You, not I!" (taken from Watchman Nee)
May my vessel be filled with God so that I can express You, and let Your work be accomplished in me through Your Grace. Amen