Good Friday

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
— Romans 5:8

It’s easy to sanitize our faith, to look on our holiday and imagine the breaking of the fast and the candy/food/wine we are about to indulge in. To imagine the flowers and the hallelujahs seems to pull us through these last days of Lent as we prepare for our fasts to be over.

It’s just so easy to get lost in the minutiae.

Our society, our world says the mighty win. They conquer. But Good Friday turns that notion on its head. You can’t have resurrection without death. You can’t have Easter without the crucifixion.

If I were to gaze upon my faith story, I would be hard bent not to understand the Jews of Jesus’ time. They wanted a Messiah king, one that would overthrow the government and make all things right. Who doesn’t want a conqueror king? Who doesn’t want immediate Earthly vindication?

But what they got… what we got... was a dead rabbi hanging from a cross.  His flesh pierced and destroyed from lashes and spears. His bones not broken but his body poured out.

They wanted a King but they were given a sacrificial lamb.   

We underestimate God and we overestimate evil. We don’t see what God is doing and conclude that he is doing nothing. We see everything that evil is doing and think it is in control of everyone.
— Eugene Peterson

A son, a rabbi, a friend brutally executed.

The Son, God as man, submitting to death, even death on the cross.

A week ago I was assigned the task of playing Mary Magdalene for my church’s “Walk with Jesus” event. We created a tomb and dressed up as these characters exclaiming to children how Jesus’ body was gone from the tomb.

It struck me as I organized the sheets and the alter, how joyful I was in comparison to the actual Mary. It struck me how light the cross was with the knowledge of what was to come Easter morning.

This year as I reflect on Good Friday, I want to remember the cross and the death of the Messiah. But I also want to remember Mary. I want to remember her trembling hands as she wrapped his body in cloth. I want to remember her tear stained face as she watched her friend, the man who set her free from unspeakable evil, die a bloody, despicable death. I want to remember her helplessness as it seemed like evil won and the stone was rolled over his tomb. I want to remember.

Lord, help me remember.

On Good Friday, we await resurrection and we sit in the darkness. We sit like Mary. Our trembling hands and tear stained cheeks searching the cross for an answer to the brokenness. Our ears open to the silence, the scent of death wafting through our lives... We sit. We wait.

Lord, help us remember.   

Four suggestions for you and your community:

Make a bonfire with friends, reading the story of Peter’s betrayal, and confess your habitual sins over the year openly. Pray for each other as you remember your sins consequences on the cross.

Read over the crucifixion story, setting aside time to contemplate Jesus’ suffering for your sake.

If your church is not having a service, attend a church in your neighborhood that is hosting a Good Friday event. Take this day as a chance to remember with fellow believers from the Kingdom.



Thanksgiving is weird to me.

I am naturally a person of short memories and long desires. High in energy and intensity, I blissfully seek out “the next best thing.”  I run full throttle through my life, checking off all the ways I fail or succeed compared to those around me. It's an exhausting and often painful cycle of self worship. 

We are simply not a culture of gratitude and I buy into it without a second glance. Seldom do I look past my desires to appreciate life in the moment and the God that brought me here.  Seldom do I pause long enough to understand the depths of God’s provision in my life.

And yet, ironically, every year I gather around the table with family and friends to say a prayer and discuss what I’m thankful for. I live in the land of great abundance and provision, but I set aside time to give thanks only once a year. Digging deep into gratitude is shamefully the last of my priorities and I suffer all the more for it. 

When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.
— G.K. Chesterton

The book of Deuteronomy reminds me of the struggle with recognizing and worshipping God in the land of plenty.

Over and over, Moses preaches to the Isrealites to “Remember the Lord”. He urges his people to dwell on the provision and providence that is their God. He is the God that brought them out of slavery. Through plagues and miracles, they were set free. He is the God that brought them through the wilderness. Raining down manna for their sustenance, they did not starve.  

But Moses knew they were facing their harshest challenge yet: the land of plenty.

Moses knew what we know so well. When you have everything you need, it’s easy to get lazy.

These people, who for a generation had intimate recognition of their God, were about to be delivered into a land of great provision. No longer would they see manna raining from the sky. No longer would they be wanderers dependant on the moment. They were about to live in  “a land with large, flourishing cities [they] did not build,houses filled with all kinds of good things [they] did not provide, wells [they] did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves [they] did not plant.” (6:10-11) Their lives were about to drastically change.

So what did Moses urge them to do? Remember.

He urged them to write God’s laws on their door frames and on their gates, to teach them to their children and their children’s children. He urged them to love their God well and pass on the stories of God’s provision.

We, too, are like the Israelites.

We are surrounded by plenty in cities we did not build, with wells we did not dig, with vast Super Markets of items we did not create, hunt, or farm. We have option on option on option. For generations there has been no end to our excess.

So what should we do? Remember.

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
— G.K. Chesterton

Let’s take this day of Thanksgiving and use it to remember our God.

That car you are embarrassed to be seen in? Remember that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob blessed you with it.

Those chubby thighs you desperately try to hide under your jeans? The same God that created the world, blessed you with strong legs that bring you through the world.

That menial job you dread going back to on Monday? The God who rained down manna for provision for his people, blessed you with the provision of employment.

Life is desperately hard whether you are in the wilderness or surrounded by provision. The only thing we can truly control is our response to it. As we sit around fancy tables with our decadent food, let us dig deeper than the bright and shiny things we are thankful for. Let us see our lives with new light.

It is easy to make false idols of our things and of ourselves, especially when we’re under the illusion that we are in control. This is our chance to tear down our altars to greed and excess. This is our opportunity to remember life in the wilderness and who our God truly is

We do not worship or follow our new cars, our big houses, or even our families. We do not worship our reputations, our social media pages, or our aspirations. 

We worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We worship the God who made David a king and Mary a mother. We worship the God who would humble himself to a manger and deliver himself to a cross. HE is who we worship. He is the one who provides for us. From our first day, to our dying breath, he is the core of it all.

Remember and give thanks. Tell your children and your children’s children of how the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob provided for you. Write it on your door frames and shout it from the rooftops. Hallelujah! YAHWEH-JIREH has kept his promise!