April 10 Good Friday John 18:1-19:42
Joy to the World, the Lord Has Come, we joyfully sang. So much preparation for Christmas. Joy being spread everywhere; Alleluias were sung in every church and goodwill expressed to everyone, ornaments adorning every tree and bush, parties, dinners, to say nothing of all the gifts that are bought and exchanged with loved ones, and then exchanged again and/or promptly returned to a some department store. And before you know it, it’s December 26. “Oh me, Oh my, why did we have to do so much work for Christmas…so much to clean up. I can’t believe we did all that for one day! Christmas is over already!?!”
Whoa! Hold up there. When we view Christmas only as a time to satisfy our own insatiable social appetites, we are in great defiance when we say we accept God’s greatest gift to the world: the Messiah.
The Baby Jesus grows up to be a man going about doing good: healing the sick, making the lame to walk, the blind to see, raising the dead; feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two little fish, and getting himself in a whole lot of trouble. Telling people how to live, many times through Parables. Then comes the voices of the people blatantly stating “Where did he get this wisdom and these deeds of power…must be some sort of trickery…he’s blaspheming, too, saying he’s the Son of God and that he’s the Messiah. Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, Caiaphas, where they conspired to arrest Jesus and kill him. Jesus was taken from Caiaphas to Pilate. Jesus was crucified on Golgatha mountain. There was a garden in this place…it was the Jewish Day of Preparation and the tomb was nearby….they laid Jesus in it.
Following Christ is not about religion, it’s about relationships. If you discriminate people because of their God-given nature, you are in defiance of the Great Commandment that you love one another as I have loved you.” At times we have placed our well being over the ‘cause of Christ,’ “You know, now is not a convenient time for me to serve…I’m so busy I can hardly take care of my family…perhaps I can help out later.” God does indeed want us to take care of ourselves and our families, but if we can’t believe God will supply our every NEED, we are in defiance of his promises.
My prayer is from the hymn “God, Who Touches Earth with Beauty.”
God, who touches earth with beauty, make my heart anew. With your Spirit, re-cre-ate me pure and strong and true. Like the arching of the heaven, lift my thoughts above. Turn my dreams to noble action, ministries of love. Amen.