Friday, April 02, 2010

Good Friday 2010

Genesis 22
When they came to the place that God had shown him, Abraham built an altar there and laid the wood in order. He bound his son Isaac, and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’

Everything was carefully planned. The height of rush hour, two stations on the same line, located beneath symbolic places in the city, including the offices of what we used to call the KGB. The bombers, described by some as “black widows,” were trained to detonate the moment the doors of the train opened.

A woman who witnessed the carnage was quoted to say “In Moscow, you live everyday like it’s your last.”

You live everyday like it’s your last.

A diarist, writing on the darkest night of the Blitz, recorded her thoughts as the evening of 29 December 1940 unfolded:

10.35 My God! This is hellish! Over went a plane just now & dropped about six bombs…I just crouch terror-stricken…
11.50 Well – we’re still alive anyway & honestly I don’t find it so alarming except when the bombs fall…
1.50 Fancy that. I think I now consider myself quite case-hardened. A bomb came whooshing down then…and I didn’t bother covering my ears for it.
5.50 The All-clear has gone & I’m going to bed…I feel myself that having survived last night I can survive anything. Also I shan’t find tonight half so alarming as I shall know just what to expect. (p. 182)

In London, you live everyday like it’s your last.

For the boy, it might have seemed like a camping trip with his father. Little did the boy know that he was the object of this trip, and that the Lord had commanded his father to end his life in a demonstration of faithfulness.

Human sacrifice was not uncommon, something the boy may have understood, but I can’t imagine it was something you signed up for, something you undertook willingly. No, for Isaac it was likely no more than time with dad: selecting the best site, gathering wood, sharpening the knife that usually hung from his father’s belt.

It seems, in the land of Moriah, you live everyday like it’s you last.

Where does this story begin? Moments after Peter described him as the Messiah, the son of the Living God, Jesus revealed that this moment would come. He welcomed children, he told a rich man to sell the things he loved most, he described a society where everyone earned a living wage. Maybe that was what sealed his fate.

He entered the Holy City, he led his disciples to the holiest site of all, and reminded them that not one stone would stand upon another. He allowed himself to be anointed for this moment, to enjoy a final meal, to suffer betrayal and denial, and find himself in the Praetorium, the very first prisoner of conscience. The path to this place has been long, and it seems undeniable that in Jerusalem, you live everyday like it’s your last.

What is this wondrous love that allows the most weary to carry on, that allows a son to trust his father even to the edge of death, that allows Jesus to trust his Father even to the cross?

When you live everyday like it’s your last, maybe trust is all you have: trust, and a willingness to surrender all you have to God.


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