Tonight we attended our church's Good Friday service, which I must say each year is one of my favorite services of all. I had been thinking a lot lately about Jesus' Crucifixion, suffering, and pain. A few years ago, Howard and I went to the theater to see "Passion of the Christ" and though I must say I thought the movie was good, I vowed that it was one I would NEVER see again. I cowered in my seat and sobbed throughout the entire movie. For days I would see a scene flash in my head depicting the intense agony our Jesus suffered and it made me very uncomfortable.
This year, I purchased the movie. The one I swore I would never again watch. As I reflected on Good Friday and the reason we remember this day I realized that maybe I needed to be pulled out of my comfort zone. It is in no way entertaining or enjoyable to see my Savior being beaten and tortured in such a graphic way, but maybe, just maybe that is what I need. He LIVED it. I need to be reminded of what he sacrificed, the cost of His life, for mine. I am not saying this is what everyone needs to do to prepare their hearts for Good Friday, but for me I needed to be jolted back into the reality that this is all real. That Christ suffered a more intense and immense suffering that I can even fathom, and He did it willingly for ME!
I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that. I sometimes get so caught up in my own self pity an guilt that I lose sight of the big picture. He paid the ultimate price because of His love for me and because of that I will have eternal life. I will once again see Isaac and Asher. It really does blow my mind.
Tonight as we sat in a candlelit somber worship center I was captivated, captivated by the kind of love it would take to make such a painful sacrifice. My heart began to overflow, really it felt like it literally. I sang the words to some familiar worship songs and as I sang the words "I lay every burden down at the foot of the cross." Tears began to roll. This is something I struggle with. I am pretty good at laying them down, but I am also pretty good at snatching them back up. I thought about the pain Jesus endured and the suffering both physically and emotionally and I found myself wondering if holding on to guilt and pain and continually laying it down at His feet only to pick it back up again does any justice to what He has done for me.
We walked up and took communion and the moment the pastor said "Kristy, the body of Christ Broken for you." Tears began to stream down my face. He ended with "and he has good plans for your life" and it was all I could do to make it back to my seat without giving in to the ugly cry. The body of Christ, broken for ME! Not just for certain people, not for the rich and famous, but for ME! For YOU! For each and every one of us. He died so that we can live. He loves us and He has a good plan for our lives. I know that in my head I KNOW all of this, but my heart so needed to hear those words today.
I sat there reflecting and worshipping as I ate the bread and drank the juice. We stood and sang one more song (Nothing But the Blood) and I was reminded that there is not a thing I can do to EARN God's favor, not a thing I can do to make Him love me more than He already does. It is done. Period.
We all exited church silently and after we picked up the boys, Luke asked what was up with the quietness, I explained to him that we had just been remembering that Jesus died for our sins and that He suffered. Luke then said "well it is a good thing we know he rose again on Easter or this holiday would be no good" :-) I agreed, but then began thinking of those who in the moment did not know Easter would happen. The drama at church kind of touched on that and still has me thinking of what it would have been like to be one of the disciples at that time. It is easy now to look back at them and wonder how they could turn their backs on Jesus the way they did, but if I were in their shoes, I can't really say for sure that I would have been able to do it differently.
I am so very thankful that we do know that on Easter, the tomb was empty. I cannot think of anything more worthy of our celebration! I hope you all enjoy your families and reflect on the amazing thing that was done for us. Jesus paid the ultimate price, and God loved us SO much that he was willing to sacrifice his ONE and ONLY son so that we can live in Heaven. After losing two of my own sons, the meaning that holds is so profound. It is a love I cannot even wrap my mind around. You are loved so much, I am loved so much! Praise God, we are loved and never alone!
13 hours ago