Friday, April 6, 2012

On Good Friday and a Song the World Knows

I woke up this morning to a sudden awareness.

It’s Good Friday.

I struggled to push the cobwebs from my brain and remember.  Remnants of dreams filtered through memories of yesterday’s activities like the sunlight pouring through my half-shaded window. An abrupt realization grabbed my focus and spun me around to face it. Tonight, I would be standing in front of thousands of teenagers, and I—together with some of the most stellar Bible students in the state—would help give a demonstration of Bible Quizzing at the NYS Youth Convention.  A stray thought buzzed through my brain. I wonder how I should fix my hair?

I shook my head to clear the self-centeredness away. Somehow, my groggy brain remembered, this day was not supposed to be about me.  

A melody, alluring and sweet, found its way into my eddying stream of consciousness.

You are Good, You are Good
When there’s nothing good in me

I started. Yes! That was it! Good Friday. Somehow, my factual knowledge of the event seemed so inadequate. Soon it didn’t matter, because it was eclipsed by the depth of meaning in those words.  We had sung the song, “Forever Reign,” last night at my college Christian fellowship group. Ashamedly, I realized that only half of me had been concerned with absorbing its terribly wonderful meaning. I began to think through the words again.

You are good, you are good
When there’s nothing good in me
(Father, forgive her, for she knows not what she does)
(My selfishness. My sin. My pain. All laid on his perfect back and crushed into his beautiful brow)

You are love, you are love
On display for all to see
(He uses a precious razor sharp breath and screams in pain and agony)
(I scream because I am the reason he languishes before me)

You are light, you are light
When the darkness closes in
(The last sunbeam is chased from the earth. Blackness and terrified screams.)
(I can still see Him, as if painted on a black canvas with a radiance all his own. Even the black hole of humanity’s sins cannot erase his light.)

You are hope, you are hope
You have covered all my sin
(Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani!)
(The words he uses to give up hope somehow speak hope to me, cutting away a weight on my back that I had not even known until it was gone.)

You are peace, you are peace
When my fear is crippling
(The earth rebels, shaking beneath us as if it cannot contain its own fear.)
(My tear-filled gaze rests on his body. It is still. Relaxed. Even now, the look on his face melts away my despair and quiets my soul.)

You are true, you are true
Even in my wandering
(“Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me”)
(His words echo in my mind. How many times has my cross fallen by the wayside?)

You are joy, you are joy
You’re the reason that I sing
(Take heart—I have overcome the world)
(His voice within me pours out an undying melody)

You are life, you are life
In you death has lost its sting.
(It . . . Is . . . FINISHED!)
(Death lets out a final scream as he exhales his spirit with his last breath. So much has finished. But so much more has begun!)

Oh, I’m running to your arms
I’m running to your arms
The riches of your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to your embrace
Light of the World
Forever Reign

Those arms—outstretched in an eternal, welcoming embrace. Once they could hold only one person—several at most. Now those arms belong to me. To the world. To a kingdom ruled by a king who is never too busy for even the least of his servants. Those arms are the reason I can stand and walk. The reason I no longer lay crumpled like an old rag in the despair my sins have caused. He clothed himself with crimson red. He clothed me in white. And his overwhelming embrace wrapped around me will never let go.

This is a Good day.

Good Friday and Easter posts from previous years:
The Last Words: A short story about the crucifixion, through the eyes of the man who died next to Jesus.
A Time to Mourn: A reflection on playing the role of Jesus' mother, and a poem about why, sometimes, we need to mourn.
Happy Resurrection Day!: My brief thoughts on why Jesus had to come back from the dead.

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