(originally published March 15, 2008)
Recently, I have struggled so much with the word “good.” Not sure if it is about trying to be good as I always felt the need to be “a good girl” or the revelation that I can never be good and that it is only in His work on the cross that I can be justified, and therefore God can see me as good and redeemed with my blood-stained covering.
Good Friday is such a strange description of the most horrible day our Lord endured on our behalf. Good? It reminds me of the words described of Aslan, the God-like lion in C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. “But is he safe? No, He is not safe, but he is good.” Good Friday—I want to take that up further with my Lord and share some of any revelation He might give me. Good? Certainly good in good for us. But never let me take for granted the cost of Good.
I grew up in a Protestant church that celebrated Easter but didn’t go through the fullness of Lent or Holy Week, as they do in the higher liturgical churches. After I was married, I went to a liturgical church and for the first time, went through the desert of 40 days of Lent, and the culmination of Holy Week with Maundy Thursday and the washing of feet, the stripping of the altar, the prayer vigil, and the three hours of praying in church on Good Friday as Christ hung on that cross for me. It was never so meaningful but for the Cross before me. I need to feel the agony and the cost before I can feel the victory of His most Holy and magnificent gift to us.
Let’s not be too quick to say Happy Easter. Here we are at the holiest week of our Christian calendar, and I can’t help but think how quickly we want to celebrate. We want the guilt removed and a chance to party. We want to say Alleluia again and mean it. We want to sing Hosannas and He is Risen. But can we wait and go through the fullness of the price before we reap the reward? Can we share in His suffering just a bit, to know a greater victory?
Would you indulge me this week, as I walk through Holy Week and share with you some of my heart for Him? I love Him even more.
But for His Grace…annie
“Olive’s Brow,” William B. Bradbury, 1853
‘Tis midnight, and on Olive’s brow
The star is dimmed that lately shone;
‘Tis midnight, in the garden now
The suffering Savior prays alone.
‘Tis midnight, and from all removed
Emmanuel wrestles lone with fears
E’en the disciple whom He loved
Heeds not his Master’s grief and tears.
‘Tis midnight, and for others’ guilt
The Man of Sorrows weeps in blood;
Yet He Who hath in anguish knelt
Is not forsaken by His God.
‘Tis midnight, and from ether plains
Is borne the song that angels know;
Unheard by mortals are the strains
That sweetly soothe the Savior’s woe.