Archive for April, 2012

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A Good Friday Reflection

April 1, 2012

* Below is the ‘beat poetry'(or whatever) that I ended my sermon with. I’ve added a few new lines. I hope it helps in your good friday reflections*

One day, I woke early in the morning to watch the sunrise. The beauty of God’s creation is beyond description, isn’t it? As a silent spectator I witnessed the world come alive. My soul was stirred. I praised God for His awe- inspiring artistry. As I sat there, I felt the Lord’s presence with me – an invisible blanket of warmth wrapping around my person inviting me to fellowship.

God spoke in the stillness of my heart,

“Do you love me?”

Surprised, I answered,

“Of course, I love you God! After all, I’m a pastor.”

“But do you really love Me?”

With quite confidence and strong conviction, I answered boldly,

“Yes Lord! I love you! How could I not – you’ve given all I got. You’re so good and worthy!

I thought I had answered well, but God asked,

“Then why do you sin?”

“Well, I’m not perfect. I am only human and the world makes it easy. Plus, perfectionism is a false teaching. Isn’t it?”

God ignored my failed attempt at theological humor and persisted in His uncomfortable line of questioning – sharp and pointed but not without compassion,

Why do you use me as a means to some other end? Why is your religion sometimes a syncretistic blend? Why only in times of trouble do you earnestly seek my face? Why do you make the gifts I give first place?

I had no answers. An uncomfortable lump had begun to form in my chest. I’m not a crier. I watch UFC. I’ve punched guys in the face yet tears threatened to spill down my cheeks.

The Lord continued but not in a berating manner – so different than so many preachers who’ve claimed to speak for Him. His sternness was more tender than their condescending kindness.

‘Why do you seek me only in times of worship? Why do you confine My presence to a place? Why are you ashamed of me? Why do remain stubbornly silent when you should speak? My good news of salvation needs to be proclaimed not privatized. Why do you make excuses when I give you opportunities to serve in My Name? Why do you hide from other people’s pain? Why do you choose your comfort over my Christ- your personal gain over my glory?

Why do you disobey my word and then blame me for the consequences?

Silence. I tried to answer, but there was no answer to give. A PREACHER with no words pleading to live.

God spoke into my silence again. ‘I’ve blessed you with life, love and laughter. You have had trouble. I know it. Your scars show it. But I’ve given you the promise of my heaven to chase away the shadows of your suffering. I’ve given you my presence to uphold you in the trials’.

Yet, you continue to turn away. What wrong have you found in me that you would run so far – chasing mirages in deserts and settling for a mouth full of sand when only I have the living water that can quench your spiritual thirst. I have spoken to you but your ears were closed. I’m speaking now.

“Do you truly love me’?

I could not answer. How could I? I had no excuse. I can’t pretend. Ignorance cannot be my refuge – I’ve known, I’ve always known. But only in asking what He already knows could it be shown. When the tears ceased, I said, “Please forgive me Lord. I am not worthy to be your son.”

The Lord answered,

“Worth has nothing to do with this – it is My Grace that makes you worthy. My love is not a response to your loveliness. My cross is not an echo of your excellence – it is a display of My mercy, My kindness and favor,” ‘Are you still trying to earn what is already yours?’

‘Tired yet’?

“But Lord why do you continue to forgive me? Why do you still love me?”

The Lord answered,

“Because I am love and you are my chosen. I have tethered you to myself in an unbreakable covenant and when you are faithless I remain faithful. When you cry out to me, I will have compassion on you. When you stumble, I will catch you. When your strength fails, I will carry you. I will never leave you or forsake you. I have loved you with a never-ending love.

In my mind’s eye flashed a picture of the old cross that I grew up staring at while sermon after sermon got lost. Tears sprung to me eyes again. How could I have been so cold and calloused? How could I have grieved the God who has given so much – who never goes ‘dutch’?

I’ve sung songs about the cross while shamelessly seeking my soul’s satisfaction elsewhere to be. Feeling the weight of the cross around my neck without feeling the weight of the cross in me. The Weight of Glory that breaks the backs of proud men and sets the captives free. Makes the blind see. Rules over me. Victory won on a bloodied tree. How could I have stared at the cross for so many years without being moved by it?

So through trembling lips I dared ask God, “Tell me again, how much do you love me?”

The Lord stretched out His arms, and I saw His nail-pierced hands from which His blood flowed afresh. For me – clothing my wretchedness in his righteousness.

And for the first time in a long time, I truly worshipped, I truly prayed, perhaps, for the first time I truly understood, ‘Christ loved me and gave himself up for me’.

Amen.