Last lessons: Love

*Good Friday: John 18:1-19:42*

And again another passage of Scripture says,
“They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”
19:37

Saving love is costly.

People humiliate us; they try to rob us of our dignity, to strip us bare; they make it their mission to alienate us, destroy us, outstrip us.

Yet love forgives.

Jesus prays for his enemies “for they know not what they do.”

So often we know precisely what we’re doing: we deliberately and knowingly deny, betray, turn away …

… yet through love we are forgiven.

And this love assures us of this: that when we recognize our need for conversion, for transformation; when we acknowledge Christ as Lord and Saviour, we are saved from the power of sin and death in this life and claim the promise of newness, the promise of eternity, the promise of Paradise …

… not as some ethereal vision or distant dream. Even today, Jesus makes life more bearable, more beautiful, by connecting us through the cross to one another in a way that comforts and takes responsibility for our Christian brothers and sisters, our fathers and mothers, our sons and daughters, and indeed, for the whole world.

Yet there are times so dark, so difficult that we wonder how we will survive, endure, let alone thrive on life’s abundance.

In the midst of the darkness, Christ cries out that he has carried out pain; that we are not alone. On the cross, love laments so that we can know that we will never be abandoned, never be forsaken.

In fact, in our fragile humanity, in our needs and our longings, God moves us beyond superficial, surface-level relationships to a spirituality that is drenched in the Living Waters of God’s Spirit.

We praise God today that God’s saving love sees what is started through to the end. In a world of half-done things and best intentions, we are moved by the knowledge that the One who began a good work in us is faithful to complete it.

God is not done with our lives until we find our final resting place in God’s heart; until our spirits rest completely and safely in God’s hands.

Are we ready to offer our lives, our hearts, our love, our all to God’s saving love today?

 

Last lessons: Sacrifice

*Tuesday in Holy Week: John 12:20-36*

“Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Verse 24

Oh Lord who showed up at festivals and feasts,
and, in your last days, spent time with those who wished to see you,
~ sharing truth,
~ evoking questions,
~ causing controversy,

in anguish I kneel before you this day …

bruised
broken
bleeding

afraid that the fragile skin I’m in
is altogether inadequate to contain
the sum of

my fears
and
bitter tears

of injuries sustained throughout the years
that have sickly festered
beneath my polite smiles
and cordial
“I’m fine thanks. How are you?”s.

There is no honour in being broken,
no success to be had in failure,
no empathy for those who just can’t seem to get their lives together:

we learn so at our mother’s breast,
in classrooms crammed with wooden desks;
from friends who smirk behind our backs
and gossip about the things we lack.

O Wheat of Life who drew all people through your woundedness rather than your power;
who overthrew the status quo through sacrifice, not violence;
who opened up eternity through the so-called finality of the grave;

may I embrace my brokenness this day
and offer all the pieces of me that I seem to have lost
or given up along the way
for planting
and watering
and pruning
and weeding
and budding
and feeding
and feeding
and feeding …

… those who are bruised
those who are broken
those who are bleeding.

.