Lent Reflections @ CEC (4/11/20)
“Even on the Cross, He did not hide himself from sight; rather, He made all creation witness to the presence of its maker. Then, having once left it be seen that is was truly dead, He did not allow that temple of his body to linger long, but forthwith on third day raised it up, impassible and incorrupt, the pledge and token of his victory.” – St. Athanasius of Alexandria
SCRIPTURE & DEVOTION: Mark 15:33-39
At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”
Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
"Well, I guess that's it then." Have you ever said that. Nothing left to be done. You can't go back and change what's happened.
Today I feel a kinship with the disciples - I'm disappointed. This Easter weekend is like none we have experienced. No gathering together - no sunrise service together. No extended family gatherings. There is a sense of being alone, of wondering, of waiting, of uncertainty about the future.
Here's how I picture the Saturday after the crucifixion. In my mind, I have a picture of a reception after a funeral - where friends and family have gathered to reminisce and remember. Each brings a different perspective, a different relationship to the person who died. The disciples must have just sat, pondering so many memories of Jesus. They must have been feeling all the emotions: sadness, anger - at the Romans, at Jesus for allowing this to happen, disappointment, disorientation. What's next? What are they supposed to do now?
We experience the same thing that the disciples must have felt - everything they had hoped for was gone. We often feel the same. Sometimes things we hope for are stripped away. Jobs are lost. Marriages fail. Kids walk away.
What do we call Saturday? There's Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday. What is Saturday? It's tempting to call it Waiting Saturday, because we know the whole story. They didn't. I think it was DARK Saturday, or DEPRESSING Saturday, or GRIEVING Saturday. I don't think they were waiting for anything - except maybe some direction on what to do next.
Disorientation, depression, darkness - I don't like to feel those things. I am thankful to live on this side of the cross because I have God's Word as an encouragement in the dark times, and I know that Sunday's coming.
I'll leave you with some verses that are an encouragement to me when I feel disoriented or discouraged:
Psalms 27:13-14 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
Psalms 130:5-6 “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.”
Lamentations 3:25 The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
Micah 7:7 But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
I'm grateful to know the whole story - at least this part. Help us when we don't see the whole story now - the parts of our lives where we are confused, disoriented, waiting and wondering. Lord, we believe. Help our unbelief. Help us (help me) to trust in Your good and perfect plan. You gave Your very life for us. You will not leave us hanging.