I wish I could somehow make time stop today.

I feel like I need to spend the day in quiet contemplation. I need to allow myself to feel pain. To experience the agony of today.

But it’s the opening day of baseball. It’s a day for soccer games. For many people, it’s a day to decorate eggs and hide candy. It’s a day to fill baskets. To shop for food. To buy gifts. To rush around.

Last night, our church had an amazing Good Friday service. We experienced the moments leading up to the crucification of Christ through the eyes of seven people. There were the crowds who yelled, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” There were the soldiers who gambled for his clothes.

There were friends and family. There was the criminal that hung next to him, challenging Jesus to save himself. Instead, he was mocked and beaten. He was brutalized beyond recognition.

Finally, there was the centurion who looked up at Jesus at the moment of his death. He heard the thunder. He saw the sky go dark. He felt the earthquake. He saw the rocks split. He saw the tombs break open and dead people raised to life.

“Surely, he was the Son of God,” the centurion said. (Matthew 27:54)

The most staggering moment for me during that service was when Jesus cried out to God in his final moments. “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?”

I realized that would be my heart’s cry, as well, if it weren’t for Him. It is only because of His blood, his torture, His death, that I have life.

Well, that experience isn’t really something I can tell anyone about with words. You had to experience it yourself. I know that many people experienced it last night where they were. Maybe in another way. But you either experienced it or you didn’t.

The whole thing was compounded by the dark skies and rain that fell throughout the day. When we got home, we heard the rain pouring down in sheets. It was as if God was helping us understand the pain and the remorse of that moment.

I don’t think I’ve ever longed so deeply for Sunday to come. I can only begin to imagine the grief that those who loved Jesus felt on that Saturday. What must it have been like to live in the presence of God in a tangible form? When Jesus walked into a room, people were naturally drawn to him. They wanted to be near him. For those who didn’t believe, his presence brought out an overwhelming need to condemn and destroy.

When that physical presence was taken — killed, actually — right in front of them, it must have left a void in their hearts that was too great to bear. The sorrow. The pain. The agony. It’s too much to imagine.

I’m sure they wanted time to stop. And yet, they had to cope with the human condition. Somehow, they had to figure out a way to live. They had to go through the motions of that day, not knowing what we know now. Sunday is on its way!

I have no desire to decorate eggs in pretty pastels today or to fill baskets with chocolate. But I’m eagerly awaiting tomorrow. I hope the sun will shine brightly! We will put on our best clothes and celebrate with all of our hearts. “He is risen!”

**

The words to this song have been playing through my head as I think about Easter.

Savior I come
Quiet my soul remember
Redemption’s hill
Where Your blood was spilled
For my ransom
Everything I once held dear
I count it all as loss
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/h/hillsong_united/lead_me_to_the_cross.htm
Lead me to the cross
Where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You
Oh Lead me, lead me to the cross

You were as I
Tempted and tried
Human
The word became flesh
Bore my sin and death
Now you’re risen
Everything I once held dear
I count it all as loss

To your heart
To your heart
Lead me to your heart
Lead me to your heart

dec2010emily

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