Wednesday, April 2, 2014

But Seriously

I suppose you could say that tonight's post is a commercial of sorts.  If you haven’t seen the movie, “Son of God”, I highly recommend it as a way to prepare yourself for Easter.  It's no longer playing here in our town, but I know it's still in many theaters.  A couple of weeks ago, we saw it as a family and, while I know there have been many movies done over the years about Jesus’ life, I do think that they can serve the purpose of shaking us and waking us to things that we, often, let drift from our consciousness.

We can’t really imagine, here in 2014 America, what Jesus' life was like or the brutality of the time in which He lived.  Heck, we can hardly wrap our brain around a world without granite countertops, high speed internet, and Starbucks.  Movies about His life can be hard to watch, but I think it’s good for us to be reminded of the atrocities that He endured for us.  When the beating and crucifixion came on the screen, we all shifted, uncomfortably, in our seats and some of us covered our ears and eyes.  I’m guilty of getting so wrapped up in ME and MY little world and MY busy schedule, MY group of friends, and things that affect MY family that, sometimes, I feel a million miles and a million years detached from the cross. 

During the movie, I tried to imagine being Mary, a mother who loved her son with all of her heart.  Just like me.  She’d carried her Son, held Him, watched Him grow, and, I imagine, worried about Him.  Just like me.  She loved Him just like I love my children.  Knowing that kind of love, I imagined watching one of my children being beaten and crucified.  I wondered how a mother’s body could survive the trauma of seeing her son tortured and killed right there before her eyes…how a mother’s heart wouldn’t just stop beating.  Not only was her call to be mother to the Savior a difficult and awkward thing when she was a young, unmarried, pregnant girl, but it also locked her into some devastating grief and loss later in her life, too.  She was part of God’s plan to save us.  Sometimes, what God asks us to do is so very hard, but I want to trust that He has a reason and a plan....like Mary did.

I tried to imagine being Peter after he realized he’d denied Jesus just like he said he would never do.  I’ve never denied Jesus in the flesh, but I’ve tried to distance myself from Him in more subtle and “acceptable” ways.  There have been times when I should have spoken and I stayed quiet.  There have been times when I should've done something and I did nothing.....maybe because I didn't feel comfortable being associated with Jesus in that particular situation.  There weren’t any roosters that crowed to alert me to what I’d done and I didn’t have to look directly into Jesus’ face, but the sin was just the same.  I’m sure Peter was in agony for three days, feeling like he’d blown his chance to prove his faithfulness……but Jesus came back, showed him mercy, and reestablished him....pointing him forward and not backward.  There was the job of building His church that Jesus needed Peter to start on right away.  Sometimes, God has to grow us before He can do His work through us.  I want to learn from my mistakes, forget them, and move forward with what I'm supposed to be doing....like Pete did.

I tried to imagine being the thief, who turned to Jesus as he was hanging next to Him.  I imagined how it would feel to know that you’re in your last hour of life.  I’ve never been on a cross at the point of death, but I’ve hung very anxiously at the end of my rope.  The times when I’m shaken by my own insufficiency is when I'm likely to look for God in the most serious way.  Sometimes, He has to take us to the end of ourselves and to the end of our options to remind us to depend on Him.  I want to know where to turn.... like the thief on the cross did.

I tried to imagine being Jesus.  I tried to imagine knowing the horrific things that were about to happen to me, while watching my closest friends scatter.  My mind couldn’t grasp the idea of asking for God’s forgiveness for people who’d whipped me, spat on me, and mocked me.  How do you ask for mercy for people, who've harmed you so savagely and unapologetically?  I also tried to imagine hanging on a cross for the sake of a woman, who would live over 2,000 years later….a woman who’d be a blogger, a busy mother and wife...a stubborn, complacent, undisciplined woman, who would offend me over and over and over again....a woman whose life would be so full that she wouldn’t give much thought to what I'd done for her on an average day.  I tried to imagine the kind of love that you'd have to have to die for someone like that and I couldn't.  I want to love people even when they're hard to love.....like Jesus did. 

After the movie, the four of us walked back to the car and rode home in total silence.  I think because small talk about work, baseball, school, or what’s for supper seemed so inconsequential in light of what we’d just seen.  In our quiet ten minute ride home, we all looked out our own windows and, somewhere deep inside, where only God can hear, I think we were probably all whispering the same prayer, “I’m so sorry you had to do that for me.”  In the quiet, I’m sure we all shared a similar, unspoken shame in the half-hearted effort we give Him most of the time.

God, forgive me.      
 

 

10 comments:

  1. oh Joni ~ needed this on several levels. thank you.

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  2. What a moving, thoughtful post. Thank you for the perspective this morning. (I enjoy your blog so much!)

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  3. This was just beautiful! I loved how you put yourself in the place of each character in the movie--a great exercise for this Easter season. Well done!

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  4. Such a moving and though-provoking post! I too don't understand how Mary's heart didn't stop beating watching her Son on the cross...

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  5. I love this post!! Thank you!!

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  6. Truly, your post moved me to tears, Joni. Thank you for being part of the preparing of my heart for Easter. God forgive me, too....

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  7. I don't think we know, truly, why we don't speak up and share the love of Christ with others. It's us being human, I guess, and incredibly fallible, which is why we need Christ so desperately to begin with. Here in the United States we become afraid of talk of "religion". As believers in Christ who have accepted the atonement, though the message has to be simply Jesus Christ, and not about our religion, our church, our tenets of faith You see where I'm going here, so I'll close with a quotation from 1 Corinthians 2:2, "For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." That's our message.

    Thank you for your tender heart.
    -Lynn

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  8. Beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing.

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