Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Because He loves us...

I had one busy weekend and here it is Tuesday, and I am finally feeling normal again.  Friday night I had a lock-in at church.  Saturday I was able to rest a couple of hours before I got up to clean and get ready to have company over for a pool party.  Sunday was our last Confirmation class followed by a viewing of The Passion of The Christ at Wesley with the other Methodist youth groups in town.  Busy, yes, but also very rewarding.

The movie was a great way to kick off Holy Week.  I don't know about many others, but, in the past, Holy Week was mainly about Good Friday and Easter.  This year I find that I am so much more aware about what this time means to those who believe.  I find myself reflecting on the Passion as I go about my daily routine. 

We have all heard the story of the Crucifixion and the events leading up to it many times.  We read the passages from the Gospels every year and the story is always the same.  For me, however, this year is different.  I remember the first time I saw the Passion movie, years ago when it came out in theaters, and being extremely moved.  I remember crying and flinching with every strike of the whip.  This year, after teaching confirmation, I really wanted my youth to experience that same thing.  As humans, very often we need something physical, something tangible, to connect with.  The movie, although an artistic expression and not entirely biblical, is a great visual of the Crucifixion.

This time when watching the movie there was something different about me.  I am a mother now and I wasn't the last time I watched it.  I connected much more with Mary this time.  I sat there asking how I would be able to stay and see my son put through so much.  How much faith it would have to take to stand there and see my flesh and blood hanging on the cross...how much strength to stand back and allow his death to happen.  Sometimes we don't acknowledge that for Mary, Jesus was her son, whom she loved with a mother's love, and he was also her savior.  She knew what he was and what his future held and yet he was her son, a life she carried, labored for, watched as he learned to crawl, and cherished long before anyone else even knew his name.

Today I was meditating on the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.  We often think of the physical pain he was put through, the humiliation he endured, and thank Him for enduring those things.  Today I was thinking about what else he had to endure for us during that time.  Yes, physical pain beyond what we can even comprehend, but more than that.  Jesus loves us all with a love we don't even understand.  He loved the Romans who were inflicting such pain on him, who were taunting him.  He loved that man who crushed a crown of thorns on his head.  He loved those who arrested him, who put him on trial and demanded his death.  He loved Barabbas who willingly allowed Jesus to take his place up on that hill.  He loved them all more than I love my children.  He loved them and had to endure seeing them want nothing more than to see him hurt.  He loved Peter and had to deal with the knowledge that Peter would deny him, not once but three times.  He had to watch Judas betray him.  And he has to endure the hurt of seeing us deny him each and every single day.  What pain he endures for us.   We fail Him and yet He forgives us.  He continues to love us even when we fail to love one another.  I am humbled.

As you go through this week and the days beyond remember He that loves you, He sacrificed everything for you, and remember that all He asks in return is that you love.

Today I went to a worship service at noon and came away with this mantra:
1. Love everyone.
2. Love everyone.
3. Let everyone know they are loved.

Thanks Travis for that.  May you all know how much you are loved.

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