March 29, 2010 § 1 Comment
Today begins what we call ‘Holy Week,’ when Jesus entered Jerusalem on His way to the Cross. Church calendars will include special services throughout. Some will have choirs and children enter their sanctuaries with palm branches. Little girls will dress in their lovely Easter outfits. The Lord’s Supper will be served. Easter will be climactic. Many will attend.
We also refer to the celebration as the ‘Passion’ because of the unequaled extreme Jesus went to in His expression of love for us.
Sometimes we miss this, I fear – the ‘passion’ of God, that is. I don’t mean a movie that graphically depicts the gore and torture of Christ. I guess there is a place for that, unless it becomes the story. No, I am speaking to the reality that God did something deeply passionate in Christ’s sufferings.
Maybe we are afraid that ‘feeling’ it will make it less certain or less Orthodox. Perhaps we fear that ‘feeling’ anything will challenge our sense of security – I don’t know. What I do know is that when what Christ has done sinks in – really sinks in – all safety goes out the window, because I’m not allowed to reduce the Faith to some formulaic set of principles, and I can’t relegate my sin and sorrows to concepts – it becomes that personal. But this is where we discover that His love is deeper, sweeter, stronger, fiercer and more passionate than anything we could possess in anything less than the deeply personal nature of the Gospel.
The scriptures are filled with invitations to experience the Gospel beyond mere intellectual assent. He invites us to ‘taste and see’ that He is good. He instituted a sacrament that enables us to taste and touch the Cross by inviting us to the Table of Christ. Jesus demanded that Thomas use his own hands to feel His wounds.
No, I don’t think that God wants us to live cold and unaffected in the Faith – He desires that we live in the reality of our brokenness and His willingness to enter into it on the most personal of terms. This is the passion and lavish delight of the Gospel. God wants us believe what we believe, but He want us to feel it too – He wants us to see that He did what love is supposed to do – He expressed it at His own Son’s expense – It cost Him everything – It came with blood and tears and sorrow and wounds and death – with Passion.
And I want to feel that…