Saturday, April 19, 2014

"But this is your hour- when darkness reigns."

Tomorrow will be a day of celebrating and laughing, a time of family and friends and giving thanks for the ultimate gift of salvation. Some people won't think much of it, some will be brought to their knees in gratitude.

Easter Sunday. So important...but not by itself.

Without Good Friday, Easter Sunday would never have come. To have the city praising him and waving palm branches just a week ago, to Luke 22 and after...shame. That's what I feel. I know my fickleness could have lead me to be one of those in the crowd- a shouting, angry face.

We had the chance to attend a Good Friday Service this year, and as I listened to the accounts of Jesus' last earthly moments, the scripture reading and the medical accounts of His scourging and death, I kept thinking of something I read this week about grace. I have been doing a study by Kay Arthur, and she says throughout that when we are faced with our own sin, when we are ready to confess...we can choose to run to Mount Sinai, or we can run to Mount Calvary.

It's such a tangible idea, to run in one direction or the other. Both towards God, but with very different results.

The author said:
"Remember, it was at Calvary that God inaugurated the covenant of grace as He put to death His Son, the covenant Lamb.
Sinai was the mountain on which the Law was inaugurated as Moses "took the blood of the calves and the goats...saying "THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU TO KEEP". (Hebrews 9:19-20)
To run to Sinai is to try in some way to do penance for your sins, to do some sort of good deed to make up for failing God."

But grace..."grace is found at Calvary".(chapter 6 of "Lord, I Need Grace...")

Oh, how wonderful is that? We keep striving to BE better, to DO better, to try harder to stop being insufficient and weak...when, we will always be completely unable to satisfy the perfection God requires. Until we fall under the sacrifice and forgiveness of Jesus.

Wonderful, wonderful. This weekend is a sad time when you realize what it cost. But it is also the most freeing weekend of the year really, when we choose to embrace all that it stands for.

The pastor said at the beginning of the service to think on what the "Grave" means to us personally. The grave of Christ...and at the end He asked people to just shout out their thoughts. To hear older adults speaking of "grace" and "mercy", young little voices shouting out "forgiveness" and "joy".
I had thought of the word "love" when I pictured Jesus' grave, but as I was just impossible to see any one word or phrase that could possibly define it.

And that's what is so great about God's sacrifice- it's bigger, and better, and more complete than we can ever really understand. Thank you, Father. Thank you for being so much more than we can imagine.

Happy Easter, Friends. Enjoy your eggs and candy and family, while you lift your hands in praise to the One who gave you everything.
"If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1John 1:8-9

If you need someone to celebrate Easter with and are local, Thomas Jefferson Middle School will be the place to be at 10 AM Sunday. Be there and worship with us!
3000 NW 119th St, Vancouver, WA 9868

(Pics are just for fun- the last few weeks have been full of landscaping and gardening, of love and friendship. Hard things that break our hearts, good things that remind us tomorrow is a new day, and Jesus with us through it all.)