Last year I wrote a blog post called Tenebrae. It was about the things I was believing would die on Good Friday, and the things I was believing would get up and go out, Sunday morning. I stand by that.
But I have a somewhat different perspective now.
A friend asked me recently what Good Friday and Easter actually mean, actually to me, actually now, in 2015.
I think it’s in Radical [look, if y’all expect me to actually start researching and citing my sources you’re going to have to get me some ad revenue or something #realtalk] where David Platt talks about how countless people besides Jesus were crucified, including some of his own apostles. Countless people have been martyred in other ways, some far more violent or cruel. And some of them never even sweated blood, or asked that the “cup be taken” from them. So does that make Jesus less brave than those people? Platt contends (and this made more sense to me than I had ever quite understood it before) that Jesus wasn’t facing death, or I mean he was, but he was also facing the wrath of God and the consequence of every sinful choice throughout human history and human future (if that’s a phrase). That’s why you see the unshakeable Jesus… frankly kind of freaking out. But never failing to submit.
Anyway, I look around me at things I’ve become more aware of than I was as I was growing up, and know I’ve only barely begun to scratch the surface. The hot mess that is the foster care system. My own kids’ stories, to be frank. The broken families affected, the stories I hear, the people I have met. Abuse. Addiction. Generational cycles. Poverty. Precious littles with FAS, PTSD, SPD, etc. Depression. Racism. People being hateful in the name of Jesus himself. Divorce. People being utterly devalued by others until they are devalued by themselves. Trafficking. ISIS. Boko Haram. And I don’t want to pretend like it has to be things that look so “extreme” on paper — my temper, my selfishness, my laziness, the wounds I inflict on my friends and family, and myself. My greed and materialism. My friends who believe the promises of the world and find themselves so isolated, hurt, disillusioned.
If you’re not horrified by the effects of sin* in the world, you’re not paying attention. I’m sorry, but it’s true. It’s reasonably possible in this day and age to isolate ourselves from it, but make no mistake: Past a certain age it’s a willful ignorance.
And I simply believe that the more you are horrified by the effects of sin, the more you are remotely capable of understanding what redemption means, and what Easter means.
There are battles I hope to get up and fight every day – to be part of the redemption of my kid’s life, of my own life… the constant daily breaking and redemption of my marriage – making Dane and myself into what we were created to be… giving the orphan a home and a family and a name, teaching love and joy and peace where there was dissension and anger and fear… feeding the suffering hungry… freeing the oppressed… loving the lonely…
And the truth is, some days I don’t see how I could EVER lose, fighting these battles. The only way I could lose is to stop, because the winning is in the fighting.
But the truth ALSO is, that some days, and often even the same days, I know that we will NEVER EVER win these battles.
So that’s what Good Friday means – every kid crying out unheard in the middle of the night, every girl locked in a brothel, every martyr beheaded on video – that’s what made Jesus sweat blood. That’s what he faced, felt, carried. All of it.
And on Easter – he BEAT IT. He won.
Listen – I won’t win, in my lifetime, nor will anyone else, in anyone else’s lifetime – but as long as we are part of the redemption effort, the surge of troops, we also can’t lose… but we come at it every day knowing that it’s already won. In the end, and in the beginning and outside of time – it’s already won.
I can try to help my kid face demons and drop baggage placed on his little life before he was ever born, and I will get up every day and do the work set out for me, but I will also know ultimately that all of that died… and He rose.
* FYI – by “sin” I mean when people make choices that are not in line with the ways that God teaches us to live for “the life that is truly life.”