Long haired preachers come out every night
try to tell you what’s wrong and what's right
But when asked how ‘bout something to eat
They will answer in voices so sweet
You will eat, bye and bye
in the glorious land above the sky
work and pray, live on hay
you’ll get pie in the sky when you die
Joe Hill 1911
Some years ago Christian Aid came up with the slogan “ I believe in life before death” The allure of pie in the sky when you die has never really done it for me. What the world needs, what I need to day is healing, is reconciliation of all that denies life and fragments life leading to a purposeless life. What I crave for is life before I die.
To have my life restored, healed, mended means that I have to acknowledge that it is broken, I am lost, I am ill at ease.
Good Friday is a day when we have to confront the painful truth that our lives are broken, that we can not live pain free, it is a false illusion to believe that nothing bad will happen to me, or those around me simply because I believe in God.
Good Friday offers at its heart an amnesty not amnesia, hope not pretense.
We have to look upon the cross, we have to behold the cross on which hung the savior of the world if we are going to be able to start the healing in our own lives.
There is so much that distracts us from this demand, that encourages us to avert our eyes or shield ourselves from the glare of this terror – just as a pair of sun glasses protect us from the harsh glare of the sun.
The story of our life will be the story of our life permanently, this is not a dress rehearsal, we only get one life but we do not have a time limited offer on forgiveness, healing or restoration.
Good Friday is God’s statement that is as powerful and eternal as the first word spoken so long ago “let there be light”. The eternal word of God now speaks “Father forgive”. These words are not words that seek to deny the reality of life, the brutality of the Romans soldiers who drive nails through flesh, the betray of love that leads to denial and the cry “Crucify” These are not air brushed from history or from our identity and the reality that we live, but the words of Jesus on the cross “Father forgive” ensure that our lives can be healed, restored and reconciled.
God doesn’t take away the kinks and twists or the hurt and humiliation, he does not airbrush out the wrinkles or paper over the crack. What he does through the cross and resurrection is take away from us the guilt and the fear, so that we can start again and life in hope.
Grace is forgiveness we can’t earn. Grace is the weeping father who looks out from his security and home to long and distant road looking for his lost son.
Grace is tragedy accepted with open arms and somehow turned to good.
Grace is what the wasteful death on Golgotha did.
In a moment we will come and kneel, bow, or simply stand at the foot of the cross and draw from this broken bleeding, despised and rejected figure strength and hope for this life, for the journey that is ours, for the decisions we need to make today.
As we stand, kneel or bow, before the Saviour of the world who for us hung upon a cross we find acceptance, forgiveness and healing for all that denies life – our life and the life of those around us.
Most people think
Great God will come from the skies
take away everything
and make everybody feel high
but if you know what life is worth
you will look for yours on earth
and now you will see the light
You stand up for your rights.
Bob Marley 1973