Good Friday 2020

Artwork by Joseph Kroese

 

Today is Good Friday. A key part of Holy Week for Christians around the world. This year hardly feels like a normal Holy Week probably because it is not normal. There is no Maundy Thursday service, no somber Good Friday service, no gathering on Easter Sunday to celebrate our risen Savior. No sharing of communion with a body of believers.

This doesn’t mean there is no Holy Week. It just means that it looks a bit different than we are used to. Services are watched online or on tv. Communion is taking place in our very own living rooms. And we will be celebrating that empty tomb on Easter Sunday!

I went back….waaaay back, to a post I had written in 2016. It still rings true today. I tried to reblog it to my blog  but my wordpress buttons don’t seem to be cooperating so I have copied and pasted instead.

REFLECTIONS ON GOOD FRIDAY

Even as a kid I wondered why they called this day Good Friday. In looking at the cross it never seemed like a good thing. Reflecting on good things makes me realize that many things in life do not, on the surface or while in the midst of them, seem like good things.

I am pretty sure everyone can look at their life and the hard, dark places that come with living and wonder where that good part is hiding. Sometimes you have to look pretty hard to find even a slight glimmer of the good. This is true, especially when you are in the middle of a hard place. There are some hard things that you may not see that shimmer of light for several years and some maybe never while on this earth. I am guessing that is where faith comes in and the hope of things unseen. (my slightly garbled version of Hebrews 11:1)

Do you ever wonder about Good Friday? Do you ever wonder if the disciples felt like their entire world was crashing down and dying on the cross with their Lord and friend? I wonder how they found the courage to take that next breath and wake up the next morning. Did they find themselves sighing deeply, hunching their shoulders to ward off the next psychological blow, swallowing back the tears and looking for anything to relieve the incredible pain? Did they spend those next three days asking “What if” or saying “If only”? Did they for an instant see the glimmer of the good that would come from this violent, brutal killing of the one they loved? Or was the darkness just to deep and the hurt so bottomless that there was no comfort and there were no words?

As a mom I cannot imagine how Mary survived those days. The memories of Jesus as an infant, the images in her mind of him taking his first steps, saying his first word. Did she remember if she was angry that he had stayed back in the temple, as a child, rather than leaving with his family on that trip home from Jerusalem? Did she ponder all these things and remember the words and promises that her son had told her? After having that horrible image of her son hanging on a cross stamped indelibly in her mind was there a small flicker of hope that he would rise from the dead or was it just to much to even think at all? There is no way I can begin to comprehend the despair that she, as a mom, felt at that point.

If you are going through a hard time that seems so dark that no light can penetrate; remember the promise of this day….this Good Friday. Yes, it is a good day. The promise of this day makes the living through the tough times less difficult. Not necessarily easier, just less difficult. This good day has brought grace. It has brought forgiveness. It has brought redemption. It has restored us to our place as God’s dearly loved children. That is a gift that is beyond imagining and I am ever so grateful. This day does not protect us from what life brings but it gives us hope for an amazing future. It is a promise.

So look for that glimmer of good, that glimmer of hope, that little sliver of light in the circumstance you are in. Hang on to the promise of this day. Hang on to the One who loved you enough to die for you and more than that, who was raised to life and is even now at the right hand of God and is interceding for us (Rom. 8:34)

May you be blessed wherever you are on this Good Friday and remember Sunday’s coming!!

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with unfailing kindness
Jeremiah 31:3

The cross at the top of this post was drawn by my youngest son when he was in high school. I love the way how this drawing reminds me how much Jesus loves me and each of us. I love being reminded that I am free, really free because of what happened on that one day…..that Good Friday so long ago.

 

 

 

 

 

The Perfect Plan

It has been a beautiful Spring day today…so beautiful and bright that it is hard to remember that it is Good Friday…the day our Lord was crucified. For some reason it seems like it should be a bleak, cold, gloomy day. It seems like it should be a day where even the earth seems to cry about the events that happened so very long ago.

Today the sun shone, instead. The breeze blew warm and soft and the grass was lush and green. The chickens contentedly pecked about the place all day. In fact the day was perfect. It was a day filled with promise.

I wonder if the day was perfect, weather-wise, because those events so long ago were also perfect. Those events were God’s perfect plan for the redemption of His most beloved creation…man.

I read a post that a friend of mine shared today.  (She and I have no idea who the original author is so I cannot credit it to anybody.) I want to share it with you; because it really hit me…hard.

“Think about this for a second. Jesus knew.

He goes into that room with His disciples. He knows He is going to be betrayed. He knows it is Judas who will turn against Him. he knows that He has been sold out for a handful of silver. Stabbed in the back by one He has poured His life into.

Yet, in that room, hours before the death of Jesus, Judas ate too. Jesus fed Judas too. Jesus prayed for Judas too. Jesus washed Judas’ feet too. I struggle to fathom that kind of love. A love that would feed the mouth that deceived you. A love that would wash the treasonous feet of the traitor. A love that could forgive even the vilest of betrayals.

I honestly struggle to comprehend it. And then, suddenly, I realize that I’m Judas. And in that moment I’m so thankful and altogether overwhelmed that Judas ate too.” ~unknown

May you have a blessed Good Friday. May you realize that know matter how far you have fallen or what you have done….He still loves you and He will not let you go. He will not leave you where you are. Always remember….Judas ate too.  What an amazing promise…what hope!

Know that this day, that seems steeped in sorrow, is filled with triumph. It is a day that the world thought evil won….They were wrong! God had a plan….He always does…and His plan is perfect. The sun/Son will shine, the breeze will blow soft and warm…..Always remember – it’s Friday…..but Sundays Coming!

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
~Stuart Townend

 

 

New Trees and Dead Wood

My husband went to a sale yesterday. I thought it was a farm machinery sale but it turned out to be a consignment auction for pretty much anything and everything. When he drove on the yard and walked through the door the first words he spoke were, “I bought something you will like!”

That really made me curious because I could see the parts of a cultivator on the back of the pickup and I was pretty sure that had never been on my list of “wants. He then dropped the checkbook, ticket stubs and some other stuff on the table and headed back outside.

I couldn’t take it; and curiosity got the best of me so I wandered outside onto the porch. It didn’t take long and, with a huge grin, he hauled out 5 pots of baby Colorado Blue Spruce trees!

To be honest, I was excited! For the last years I have been nagging asking for some more evergreen trees so we could plant another row in our back yard. When I would nag ask for those trees I would typically get the response, “We aren’t that young anymore….we will not see them as big trees.” To which I answered, “Well we AREN”T getting any younger so we should plant some now!”

At this point those baby trees are safely in our garage, waiting for us to make up our minds as to exactly where they should be planted. There is a permanency about planting trees. You have to think ahead to the future and try visualize how big they will get, how much space they are going to take and to stay away from the power lines!

Maybe that permanency is what I like about planting trees. Maybe the fact that you need to have patience, intrigues me? I love thinking ahead to leaving something for the next family that will live here. I also know the reality, that at some point those trees will get old and die, as all things do.

When that happens, I sincerely hope that whoever lives here will let a few of them stand, for the birds and wildlife that need some dead trees. In looking at my little trees, hanging out in the garage tonight, I started thinking about them someday being dead wood.

At first thought, dead wood seems like it would be worthless as it is dead. It always seems like something that is lush, green and growing would have infinitely more value. I started considering that there are beautiful pieces of wooden furniture made from dead wood. I thought about the beautiful carvings made from blocks of dead wood and all those homes made from trees that have become dead wood.

Then my thoughts wandered to today….Good Friday. I thought of that cross that held Jesus as He willingly gave His life so we could have eternal life. The cross, that was at face value an ugly piece of dead wood.

When looking beyond that face value and realizing what happened on that piece of dead wood, I am struck by the fact of the holiness of those pieces of dead wood. They  held the Son of God…..who died for us while we were yet sinners. (Romans 5:8)

If this Good Friday finds you feeling less than worthless….if it finds you thinking that you have no value…if it finds you frustrated and overwhelmed…Do Not Fear! You, like dead wood, have beauty. You have value and you are so worthwhile that the Son of God willingly gave His life for you!

May you be blessed this weekend and may you rejoice in the fact of your great worth. May you look at the promise in the trees that grow around you and know that even when those trees have gone the way of all trees…..there is still a beauty to be found in them……and in you.

God proved His love on the Cross.
When Christ hung, and bled, and died,
it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’
Billy Graham
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/billy_graham_150661?src=t_easter

 

“We live to die
We die to live”
Ruth Fondse

Reflection on Good Friday – Revisited

Pretty Crosses
Over the years I have accumulated some “pretty” crosses. I gathered some of them up today to take a look at them. And yes, once again, I thought they were very pretty and very decorative.

I have a friend who sends them to me every so often. She knows I like them. I think I like them because they remind me of her and they remind me of Grace. As I was looking at them I wondered if I also liked them because they were a picture of a neat and tidy Grace?

They are beautiful and there is no hint of the brutality that took place on that rough wooden cross so many centuries ago. There was nothing beautiful or tidy about that cross. It was ugly, harsh and had blood dripping down it. I don’t think my pretty crosses really show the full measure of the sacrifice made for us that day.

The only beautiful thing about it was the absolutely pure love of the one they nailed to it. His selfless act, His love of us “while we were yet sinners” (Romans 5:8) amazes me, humbles me and calls for some type of response from me.

Last year I had just started blogging not too long before Good Friday. I am going to repost my blog from that day. After rereading it, I wanted to re-share it. I know some of you are going through hard places in your lives at this time and I pray it brings you hope in the promise that is the cross. The promise of the One who hung on that cross and was Hope made flesh.

The Chicken Grandma

Artwork by Joseph Kroese

Even as a kid I wondered why they called this day Good Friday.  In looking at the cross it never seemed like a good thing.  Reflecting on good things makes me realize that many things in life do not, on the surface or while in the midst of them, seem like good things.

I am pretty sure everyone can look at their life and the hard, dark places that come with living and wonder where that good part is hiding.  Sometimes you have to look pretty hard to find even a slight glimmer of the good.  This is true, especially when you are in the middle of a hard place.  There are some hard things that you may not see that shimmer of light for several years and some maybe never while on this earth.  I am guessing that is where faith comes in and the hope of things unseen. (my slightly garbled…

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