Hello, my dear Warrior friends.
It’s Easter weekend, but unlike any good church-going girl, I’ve totally neglected to buy the pastel outfits and the stuffings for proper Easter baskets for the family. I don’t have my HoneyBaked Ham yet and really, all I want is the ham bone anyway; the pinto beans need it. Corbin is supposed to have baseball practice tonight, ON GOOD FRIDAY, and this somehow seems blasphemous considering it is a church league. However, we have been invited to break Easter bread with the pastor and his family, so we must be doing something right to be invited into the holy of holies.
In all seriousness though, Easter always gets me thinking of Jesus and the moments leading up to and during, and even after his crucifixion. Like most Bible stories, we all know the endings and therefore, I think we tend to skip over the hard stuff that took time, required multiple breaths and heartbeats.
Riding into Jerusalem on a borrowed jackass, I wonder where Jesus was in his mind. The people shouted “Hosanna,” but he knew in his divinity that these same mouths would spit out “Crucify.” What was the position of his heart? Did he feel praised and proud, or was fear and anxiousness already poking at his heart? Did he love the people for their affirmations of his kingliness or did he already feel the weight of his coming suffering?
Where was Jesus? What was he thinking in these moments he knew were coming? How often do we wish we knew what was coming next in our sufferings believing it to bring relief? That somehow knowing the next thing, the end of things would bring a comfort and strength to get through them.
Yet, I see the wrestling inside the humanity of my king. The One who asked for a different cup to drink from, a different way than the way of the Cross. How often I ask for a different way than my cross!
Our marriage isn’t one that Disney movies are made of. Perhaps it’s more of a Shakespearean play. In the first act, Danny and I are two young adults finally acknowledging the same rhythm that beats in our two hearts. We are dressed in our finest and we dance our first dance. We move together, my arms around his neck and his arms around my waist. With roses in my hair and his hands holding up my dress, we dance as he sings the words of the song in my ear. In this moment, I feel wholly loved, free and accepted. I feel beautiful and perfectly perched on the precipice of our long life together.
The second act opens and life has begun in our home, and is growing in my womb. We are living our dreams and moving together in the dance of a hopeful long life. But, at the end of the second act, tragedy strikes and the audience is left guessing what will happen to these two who loved so deeply. Surely, the fairytale ending would come to pass. Surely, the bad things don’t happen to good, loving and gasp! Christian people. Surely, because of their faithfulness, God would shake out the puppet strings, untangle the messiness and creatively bring about the happen ending.
But, in the intermission, as the crowd leaves the theater for snacks and a biological break, the biology of God’s broken creation rests on these weary characters and there are no puppet strings to manipulate.
The dance was interrupted, cut-in by the sinister whispering of the liar riding on the waves of death. And, in Genesis, we begin to read the story of man’s sin and the foreshadowing of the God-man who was to die. We learn that the dance of man and God began to break apart as a different rhythm was introduced to mankind by the devouring DJ come to take over what was always rightfully the Creator’s song.
And, it’s in this intermission we all live interrupted by the brokenness of a world crying out to be made whole again, to be in sync with the Father. And, we carry the brokenness of our crosses attempting to make some sense and align this with the Cross of Christ; that somehow through His dying we can reconcile the circumstances of our present difficulty.
Bearing the brokenness of brain injury, I never thought I’d have to die as Christ to my lover. I had never thought I’d have to die to myself in our marriage marred with the markings of an evil plan thwarted by the God of the impossible. I never thought dying to myself would take me to my knees and keep me there for so many years. I didn’t know how literally I’d have to die to be Danny’s wife, to be my limited best of Jesus to my partner.
My friends, it isn’t about your cross. It isn’t about the weighted and the waiting. It isn’t about the brokenness and the bruised, the cracks and the challenges. It wasn’t for the beatings and the blood. It wasn’t for the symbol of death and shame in the form of a cross-carried on the back of our Savior. It wasn’t about the transgressions and the sorrows themselves; it was the God-man transfixed on the redemption of all of you and all you were to face in life. His Love for you made it worth bearing the pathway to a death not meant for Him. While the people spitting on him as he walked by did not know and could not see the end of the story, we do and we can live in the now weightless freedom called grace. We can live and dance in the knowing that our cross is not the end, just as His Cross was not. We can move through and forward in the carrying with our eyes transfixed on the joy set before us, knowing our crosses are not all there is in life, but bearing up into the knowing we and our crosses have already been redeemed.
It isn’t about my cross; it’s all about my redemption.
Through Christ, I can carry this cross knowing that the Savior of the world has already redeemed it. I do know the end. I do know that Danny and I will dance again in the most wonderful of wedding feasts when the Bride is called home and the glory of all crosses borne in a broken world will line the aisle for the King to reclaim his Bride.
Even now, Lord, may our crosses be a light of your Love, a message of hope in the darkness to many and a testimony of your great grace.
Happy redemption weekend, Friends. May all your crosses be light and your eggs be filled with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Amen!