April 22, 2011 - Good Friday

April 22, 2011 - Good Friday
Rev. James Abrams

John 13:36-38, 19:38-42

'Good Friday' is full of contradiction and paradox. "Daddy," my eight year old asks with inquisitive eyes, "If today is the day Jesus died on the cross for us, then why do we it call 'good' Friday?" The tension keeps the paradox before us. Any attempt to resolve the contradiction, ease the tension, or reason away the paradox ends with a failure to account for either the enormity of our sin or the sacrificial reach of Divine Love. What's so 'good' about this Friday anyway?

On this wonderfully tragic day I've decided to remain in the center of the tension and embrace the irony. I've resigned myself to be broken, shamed and grieved at my sin while at the same time to be captured, restored, and rescued by the sacrificial love of God. I've resolved to resist the temptation to do anything of significance. Sure I'll gather with loved ones and friends to retell the the story of 'Good Friday' in Scripture, prayer and song, but that will only serve to increase the tension.

You see, in the end, Good Friday finds us all spectators, mockers and observers caught in the violent center where Divine Love crashes into the wicked hatefulness of human sin. Today we are helplessly disarmed and disabled, reduced to passive inactivity. Today we are painfully aware that someone else is doing the terrible work of our redemption.

O Love divine, what hast thou done!
The immortal God hath died for me!
The Father's co-eternal Son
Bore all my sins upon the tree.
Th'immortal God for me hath died:
My Lord, my Love, is crucified!

Is crucified for me and you,
To bring us rebels back to God.
Believe, believe the record true,
Ye all are bought with Jesus' blood.
Pardon for all flows from His side:
My Lord, my Love, is crucified!

Behold and love, ye that pass by,
The bleeding Prince of life and peace!
Come, sinners, see your Savior die,
And say, 'Was ever grief like His?'
Come, feel with me His blood applied:
My Lord, my Love, is crucified!

Then let us sit beneath His cross,
And gladly catch the healing stream:
All things for Him account but loss,
And give up all our hearts to Him:
Of nothing think or speak beside,
My Lord, my Love, is crucified!
- Charles Wesley, 1772

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