Good Friday Sully

I’ve done a lot of running this week. When things get crazy, run. It helps.

Sully running

We watched the movie “Sully” with Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart the other night. He was stuck in New York as the FAA investigated him. He couldn’t sleep. So he ran. A lot. Sometimes with his co-pilot and sometimes alone. During the day. At night, by the bright lights of the city. I had to laugh, despite the heavy content of the movie. Runners know. Burn off some of that anxiety and stress instead of eating a whole pie, or drinking yourself into a stupor. Get your head in a good place.

Running, it seems, can be a type of prayer. You pour out your concerns and frustrations to God as your feet hit the pavement. I know it’s been like that for me. I can hear the Lord once I come to the end of my homemade solutions.

I’m thinking about pouring out frustrations today as it’s Good Friday. How it must have hurt Jesus to be betrayed by one of his closest friends. Of course, He knew it all would happen. But I doubt that made it any easier.

Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.”  He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed.  He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” –  Matthew 26:36-39

He felt fear. He understood the weight of what came next, the suffering and pain awaiting him. Judas led the group of men with clubs and swords who came and arrested him, a citizens’ arrest. Then, the betrayal, mock trial before Pilate, beating and crucifixion.

At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” – Matthew 27:46

We all have seasons where we feel abandoned or lost or completely alone. Jesus knows. He went through it all. We remember what He did for us today, and what it cost.

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. – Hebrews 4:15-16


Suddenly Jesus

It’s a lovely day.  The sun shines outside and a cool breeze blows.  Spring has fully sprung here.  I even see dogwoods starting to blossom.

I’ve been thinking about Jesus today.  No surprise, I suppose.  It’s Good Friday again, commemorating the day Jesus experienced betrayal, trial, crucifixion and death. Despite  loads of Old Testament prophecy about his coming, the Jews still found themselves flummoxed when the Messiah showed up.  Suddenly… Jesus, you’re up!

That’s how spring feels.  It’s winter, 40 degrees and rainrainrainrainrain.  Forever and ever, world without end.  Then, pop!  A daffodil flowers.  Then another.  Quickly now, you can’t hold back the tulips or cherry blossoms, try as you might.  It’s out of control!  Crazy new growth appears everywhere you look. Spring takes over.  Hanging flowers waft their scent down to everyone within reach. Sure, the rain continues to fall but the flowers rush on, an unstoppable, beautiful army of color and life.  The earth rejuvenates itself, rouses itself from its cold and lifeless slumber, and wreathes itself in greenery.

This is how I’ve been thinking about the incredible gift Jesus gave us.   It’s the ultimate Inequitable Exchange, an instant trade.  His life for ours.  His sinless, perfect heart for our sinful stained one.  His blameless existence for our wayward lifestyle.  He took lashes so we could have healing in our bodies. Doesn’t seem fair.  But maybe that’s exactly how it should be.  God’s infinite love for humanity marched on and on, through misunderstandings, disobedience, pain, suffering, and the construct of time. He would not relent.  We couldn’t fix our “helpless estate”, so the lover of our souls stepped in. His plan – a perpetual springtime of spirit for those who answer His call of salvation – fills me with wonder. We receive it day by day, walking with Him hand in hand. The rain of circumstances continue to fall. He beautifies our life with his loving forgiveness and grace. Out of God’s continual care, we flower and grow. I can’t stop thanking God for this.  I hope I never do.