Mar. 24, 2016

...And then came Sunday!

 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.”

John 3:16

How many times have you seen John 3:16 on banners at football games, on top of buildings, along the freeway, in all sorts of unlikely places. Lots, right? But when you think about it, it’s so much more than a handy verse to throw out hoping to achieve....well, I’m not exactly sure what.  Tomorrow is Good Friday, a reminder of the day Jesus died. And then in two days, we celebrate Easter and His Resurrection. But you can’t get to Sunday until you get through Friday.

My dear friend and editor, Debby Alten, threw out a challenge to her writer friends to see if we could write about Good Friday from the point of view of something other than a soldier or a woman on the hill or a disciple. Immediately, The Temple Veil, a huge piece of cloth four inches thick it is said, came to my mind.

The Temple Veil

I am the barrier that has hung between God and man for centuries. I have seen God’s face. I have heard His voice. I have seen all the sacrifices, the incense, the offerings, year after year, all the striving by man to please God. I have hung inviolate, seen only by the anointed priest, year after year, the barrier between man and God. Today, my work is done.

This day the Son of God was crucified, nailed to a cross, humiliated, beaten, scorned, spat upon. Hours passed as he hung, suffocating, fighting for breath, as God’s chosen people, who had waited centuries for their Messiah, watched excitedly and waited to see this man, Jesus, die. At last, his body could bear no more and I heard it, I heard his anguished cry, “It is finished! Father! Into your hands I commend my spirit!”

The middle of the afternoon saw the sky blacken as though it was midnight. The earth quaked and shook. Tombs were wrenched open and long-dead saints walked the earth again.

Before the echo died, the very hands of God reached down and ripped me in twain, from top to bottom. No longer would I separate God from man. No longer would there be a need for the barrier between God and man. Jesus, the Son of God, who died today, opened the door to God the Father, by making the ultimate sacrifice, the final blood sacrifice to atone for the sins of mankind. Now God’s children can come boldly into His loving, forgiving presence and I, now merely two pieces of ruined cloth am but a memory. It is finished.

“In the bonds of death He lay Who for our offence was slain; but the Lord is risen today, Christ hath brought us life again, Wherefore let us all rejoice, Singing loud with cheerful voice, Hallelujah!”  Martin Luther

“Christ the Lord is risen today,” Sons of men and angels say. Raise your joys and triumphs high; Sing ye heavens and earth reply.” Charles Wesley

And then came Sunday!! He is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed!