Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Rescue

Back on Good Friday this year, I had some friends come over to think of Jesus and say a prayer or two.  I put together this video to get our minds on the reality of it all.  It seemed to help and we said some meditative prayers to keep Jesus and his suffering in the center of our minds for a while.  It must have been effective for it kept coming back to my mind throughout the day.


So why have I waited until a Tuesday Evening in July to post this reflection?  Well... you know, life happens and I kept putting it off and then I kept thinking well maybe I should wait until Good Friday comes around again... but then, a conversation with a friend earlier today caused me to reconsider.

Simply put, it occurred to me that today and every Tuesday, millions of Christians take time to meditate on Jesus and his suffering.  It is part of the most popular Christian devotion on earth to set aside two days of the week, Tuesday and Friday, to meditate on the key sorrowful moments in our Lord's life, specifically the final hours leading up to and including his crucifixion.

Adding some historical perspective, for the past several centuries it has been common to pause two days out of the week (traditionally Wednesday, the night our Lord was betrayed and Friday, the day he was crucified) and think about our Lord and his suffering.  Other days are dedicated to more glorious and beautiful events in His life.

But still I hesitated.  I mean, most people don't want to think about Jesus suffering, it makes them sad.

Well, there must be some plot to get me to post this today because I then had another conversation with a friend about the way we avoid thinking about such a horrible, bloody and gory event.  She wondered why (rightly so since we seem fine with gore and violence in much of our entertainment) and it triggered a memory.

We are protected from seeing blood,
it is considered bad presentation...
Years ago my Pastor preached about how in America we are now protected from the sight of blood in everyday life.  It isn't just for sanitation reasons either, it is a presentation and selling point, even in the way we package our meat now with little pads to soak up the blood.  I still remember the bloody butcher shops of my youth and the way meat was packaged with the blood quite visible.

I suppose in societies that are still centered on agriculture they are more comfortable with seeing the blood and gore involved in everyday food preparation.  I certainly remember the times we processed our own chickens on our farm.  It was a bloody, smelly, feathery mess!  But that is just the way it was.

So my Pastor had a point.  We are protected from the site of blood in everyday real life.  The movies can depict it in a surreal fashion but with more and more people being urbanized, we just don't get exposed to blood every day in real life.  And since blood represents life (we cannot live without it) it is especially disturbing when we see the blood of somebody we love.

Yet I'm not sure this accounts for all of our aversion.  There seems to be more to it. (Pastor Bill probably thought so as well, but alas, I cannot remember the rest of his sermon.)

Perhaps we simply are not comfortable with a God who suffers with us at all.

But our God does suffer with us.  Even now.  Somehow His suffering echoes in eternity and forever He is united with all human suffering, participating in it.

That being the case, it only stands to reason that we too can unite our suffering with His.  Maybe this is what Paul was getting at in Colossians 1:24.

For me, when I allow that to sink in, it is the most comforting thought on earth.  What is there left to fear?  My God even walks through death with me.... and then conquers it for me because death cannot keep Him down!

Ahhh... see there, I get ahead of myself!  That meditation is typically done on Wednesdays and Sundays.  But then, there is nothing stopping any of us from meditating on all of the events of Christ's life every day, and some people indeed do just that!  The daily meditation suggestions are more like minimal guidelines than rules anyway.  See them all by clicking here!







Christ is risen from the dead,
trampling down death by death
and upon those in the tombs
bestowing life!

Arabic Transliteration:
Al-Masih qam min bain'il-amwat,
wa wati al mowt bil mowt,
wa wahab'l hayah lil ladhina fi'l qubur

Arabic:
المسيح قام من بين الأموات
ووطئ الموت بالموت
ووهب الحياة للذين في القبور

Chinese:
基督(合利斯托斯)已經從死裡復活,
他的死勝過死亡,
把生命賜給已埋葬在墓中的人。

Dutch:
Christus is opgestaan uit de doden,
door Zijn dood vertreedt Hij de dood
en schenkt het Leven
aan hen in het graf!

French:
Le Christ est ressuscité des morts;
par la mort, il a vaincu la mort;
à ceux qui sont dans les tombeaux
il a donné la vie!

German:
Christus ist auferstanden von den Toten
hat den Tod durch den Tod zertreten
und denen in den Gräbern das Leben geschenkt!

Greek transliteration:
Hristos Anesti ek nekron,
thanato thanaton patisas,
ke tis en tis mnimassi zoin harisamenos

Greek:
Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν,
θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας,
καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι,
ζωὴν χαρισάμενος!

Hebrew:
המשיח קם מבין המתים
רמס מות במותו
וחיים למתים נתן

Italian:
Cristo è risorto dai morti,
Con la morte ha vinto la morte,
E a quelli nelle tombe
Ha donato la vita!

Japanese:
ハリストス死より復活し、
死を以て死を滅ぼし、
墓に在る者に
生命を賜へり。

Latin:
Christus resurrexit a mortuis,
Morte mortem calcavit,
Et eis in sepulchris
Vitam donans.

Polish:
Chrystus powstał z martwych
śmiercią podeptał śmierć
i będącym w grobach
życie dał!

Romanian:
Hristos a înviat din morţi,
Cu moartea pre moarte călcând,
Şi celor din morminte,
Viaţă dăruindu-le!


Russian:
ru|Христос воскрес из мертвых,
смертью смерть поправ
и пребывающим во гробах
жизнь даровав!

Spanish:
Cristo ha resucitado de los muertos,
pisoteando la muerte por la muerte,
y a los que están en los sepulcros
dando la vida.

Turkish:
Mesih ölülerden dirildi,
ölüm ile ölümü tepeleyerek

ve mezarda olanlara hayat bağışladı.