Sunday, April 8, 2012
What does Easter mean to you?
A cry uttered by Jesus Christ while dying on the cross, preserved in the original Aramaic: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
Father, now the sun is risen, I thank thee for thy silent strength, given me in my hour of despair, when the darkness seemed to smother, and the tears I selfishly shed for my own pain and trivial troubles shut out the light, and I rendered myself
Father, now thy son is risen, I thank thee for allowing one so much greater than I
thine only begotten, flesh of thy flesh, to complete a task so wonderful and terrible by leaving him necessarily alone.
Father, in the garden green of Olivet, in the still and solitude the Creator of everything offered up all he had, and submitted himself to all the vengeance of Hell; and in his hour of need, the friend of the friendless was forsaken, forgotten,
for what? Although the spirit was willing the flesh indeed was weak; and they slumbered, leaving him, the balm of mortal pain, to suffer, alone.
In the beauty of that desert place, the Savior of mankind faced all the ugliness his charges could offer: the pain, the hate, the sin, the sorrow, the waste, the wickedness, the pride, the poverty, the deceit, the ignorance, the doubt, the fear, the betrayal and even the loneliness alone.
As his immortal, righteous blood was spilled, like sweat from every pore and fell to the thirsty earth below, I cannot hide my honor and my awe at his great love for me; neither can I hide my shame, self-reproach and regret. For how many of those precious drops am I responsible for? As he suffered the bitter cup, alone.
The longest night the world will ever know, the solstice of eternity, fell on Emmanuel and by the light of torches the light of the world, The very god of love,
was betrayed by a kiss, enslaved by strangers, rejected by his own, denied by those who knew him best, and led away in chains alone.
How it must have hurt thee to witness the sufferings of thy beloved inflicted by thine other children, those whom he had come to save; to steadfastly persevere,
and answer not a word, amidst the jeers the blows, the spit and scorn; to see his perfect body torn, his perfect soul rent in anguish, staggering and fainting beneath
the evil and imperfection Of all mortality collectively alone.
And thou, beyond the grasp of human pain did surely mourn at the mocking of his misery by so many witnesses and beneficiaries of his miracles and ministry. Those who knew better; who unworthily and ungratefully bore thy birthright; those with whom thou had cut they covenant now cut the flesh of thy son deliberately. And in the crowded mob he wept alone.
Down the winding passages of the city of Peace, stumbled the Prince of Peace. Plaited thorns adorned his crown; stripped of all but his mantle of duty; how it must have burdened thee to see thine own, who in innocence did glorify thy name, bearing a scapegoat's load, the weight thereof not unfamiliar to thee, which could so mercifully have been loosed by thy omnipotence; yet in the name of mercy didst thou allow this charade of justice to continue. At a crossroads he was lifted up upon the cruel cross. And in his torment, when he needed thee most, thou left him unwillingly alone.
Father, in the vastness of thy creations, was there any place large enough to contain the immensity Of thy sorrow? Was there any place small enough and far enough away to hide from the pleas and cries of thy suffering son? Until the moment he pronounced "It is finished." Triumphing, at last alone.
In olden times, the scriptures say thou wert a jealous God described; I think I know now why, jealous lest man ever slight, forget, or with anything replace the memory of the sacrifice made by thy son alone.
O Father, I thank thee for sacrificing thy fatherhood for thy godhood, by giving us thy son to pay the ransom we could not. And by so doing, thy righteous heart was broken also, for what father could bear to see his helpless child suffer and not rush to his aid? Instead, to leave him intentionally alone.
O Father, I thank thee that through the tears that fell from his eyes and from thine, that my tears may be dried and my eyes opened to the hope of my salvation, and the reassurance of my eternal worth, in spite of myself, that my meager life was worth dying for. And he died for me, and because of me, that I might live for him, in all my days serving him as tool and ambassador of the love he had for us; the love that gave purpose to his life and life to his purpose. Father, I acknowledge my hungering need to bear and be borne by the unconditional love of Christ, who unselfishly serves all those who but come unto him. As counsellor, advocate and friend; that neither I, nor any of us need ever be alone.
Father, let me let him in! Let his light fill the recesses of my soul, that darkness and evil find no place. Let me always make room for him for whom the inn was full. Let your spirit make me wise enough to seek the King of Kings as the Magi did; and as wise men still and always do. Let me ever joy in that same glory that was witnessed to lowly shepherds long ago. Praise be to the Father and the Son! The glory be to him and thee alone.
Please bless me, dear father, that I may live my days in remembrance of him whose hands first sculpted me in clay. Whose hands now rest in thine; those hands thou once suffered to be pierced for my sake. Father, wouldst thou bless me, that as he bore my burdens, I may lift all those around me with whom I share this borrowed existence for thy sacrifice, and his, was not for me alone.
And in his name may I heal the poor in spirit, feed those enhungered of body or soul; build up where others tear down; make peace spread love; share his hope; that as I represent him in my small corner of the world, no one I meet will ever be in need, in doubt, or alone.
What does Easter mean to you?
Albert Robbins III
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