Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Reliving the Passion ~ Walter Wangerin Jr.

The sun is shining, the sky is a brilliant blue, there are the sounds of bird song in the early morning; it's a beautiful day.  There is more grass visible in our backyard than snow...spring is here.  Slowly but surely winter is easing it's grip.

"As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease." Genesis 8:2

The sleep of winter will always be followed by the awakening and new life of spring.  What looks dead and barren will once again flourish with life.

As long as the earth will endure.

And when I look at this world and watch the news I wonder how much longer will it endure.  How much longer will the LORD allow His heart to be grieved by the sins of those He created, of those He gave what He beautiful earth.

How much longer will injustice and the suffering of the innocent go on.

Yet I am reminded in this Easter season that there comes a death and a glorious resurrection.  We have a Saviour, if we so choose to accept His most selfless sacrifice.  My sins upon His shoulders, my debt of death paid by His death and utter separation from His Father God.

I've been reading a book by Walter Wangerin Jr. Reliving the Passion, meditations on the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus as recorded in the gospel of Mark.  My eyes and heart have been opened in a deeper way to the sacrifice my Saviour gave and lived 2000 years ago.

Jesus...the One who gave up everything to walk among the created ones...the image bearers, who weren't bearing that image well at all.  And so He became one like us and yet fully God.  Anything we endured, He endured.

In his book on the First Day, Ash Wednesday, Wangerin Jr. starts out by stating: "Whenever the journey to Easter begins, it must always begin right here: at the contemplation of my death, in the cold conviction that I shall die."

This afternoon I was driving my son to a friends and we passed this cemetery and across from the cemetery is this beautiful home.  My son remarks that each day as those people leave their home they face their future, all those gravestones staring them in the face.  He was right, one day that will be each one of us...dust to dust.

"Remember now that thou art dust.  Death now --- yes, even in the midst of a bustling life.  My death and Jesus' death, by grace conjoined.  Memento! Remember! --- because this death, remembered now, yields life hereafter.  And that life is forever." ~ Wangerin Jr.

And so over these last 37 days I have been reliving the passion.  My heart and senses have been opened to this story in ways I had never heard it before.


the Creator God - Through him all things were made.

the Son of God - And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."

the son of man - "You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."

the teacher - They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority

the miracle worker - "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk."

the friend - "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command."

the friend betrayed - "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me - one who is eating with me." Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: "The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard."

the friend disowned - "You will all fall - yes, tonight - before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times."  But Peter insisted emphatically, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." --- "Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean." Peter replied,  "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!"  Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.  Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him.  And he went outside and wept bitterly.

the king of the Jews - When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:  "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"  "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!"

the king of the Jews mocked - They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head.  They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him.  "Hail, king of the Jews!" they said.  They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.

the king of the Jews rejected - So Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?"  "Yes, it is as you say." Jesus replied.  "Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews.  But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!"  "Shall I crucify your king?"  Pilate asked.  "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered.  Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

the king of the Jews crucified - When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals - one on his right, the other on his left.  The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him.  They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One."

the Son rejected by the Father - "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" - which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"  "Jesus is rejected by God, is cut completely off from God, is hung on a tree and thereby cursed, divorced at all points from his Father.  And yet: it is in this same Jesus, at this same moment, precisely because of his sacrifice and death, that God is most present to the world!  It is in Jesus on the cursed tree that God's supreme intentions toward the world are made manifest: that he hasn't come to curse, but rather to love and to bless.  God is not here with Jesus.  Yet God is indeed here, in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself!  God and his sin-corrupted Son are as removed from one another as hell is from heaven.  Yet the whole passion is of holy design!  Cursing is integral to that design.  And the Father, verily absent, is also verily here, accepting the sacrifice." ~ Wangerin Jr.

the Saviour - The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!"  The Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

the Resurrection - But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.  As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.  "Don't be alarmed," he said.  "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified.  He has risen!  He is not here."

He is RISEN...He is not here! 

Because my Saviour lives I can face tomorrow.  Because my Saviour lives I can drive by that cemetery knowing that one day my body, this earthly vessel will rest there but my soul will go on to glory to be with my Saviour.  All things will be made new, God will dwell with us.  He will wipe every tear from our eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Things to be thankful for...

633. Pink evening sky
634. Salted caramel timbits
635. A nice visit with Will and Amy
636. Tour of William's work place
637. A gift of homemade body butter from Amy

638. Days filled with more day light
639. Hydro
640. Snow melting
641. Morning bird songs
642. Crunchy Royal Gala apple
643. Chat with the neighbour in the woods
644. Sunshine pouring through my office window
645. Homemade BBQ'd burgers
646. My husband's wisdom in talking with his children through difficult things
647. Sun light through silhouetted trees
648. My husband's smile
649. Walk in the Frink Centre with Sarah

 650. Cadbury's mini eggs
651. Quiet night with Matt
652. Beautiful, still morning
653. Great small group time
654. Sunshine
655. Grooming Amadeous
656. Movie night with Charissa, mom and Sarah
657. Good chat with my sister-in-law
658. Dinner with friends
659. The trust and innocence of children in sharing life
660. Beautiful bouquet of flowers from a friend

661. Smiles and laughter in the Toddlers room at church
662. Forgiveness
663. Kara suffers no more
664. Contact with a musician from Texas - sharing my images with her for a lyrical video
665. Getting my kitchen cupboards cleaned and organized
666. Warmth of the sun
667. Black Jack curled up on the deck enjoying the sun
668. Laughter with my husband
669. A step forward for someone we care about
670. Frost sparkling in the morning sun

671. Quick visit from Charissa
672. Chat with Jocelyne
673. Matt and his dad working on the camaro together
674. The snow and ice continue to melt
675. Horses rolling in the snow
676. Good chats at the grocery store
677. Knitting
678. Gentle cooing of the mourning dove
679. Horse hoofs trimmed
680. Beautiful sunshine

681. Kara's memorial service, a godly, grace filled woman ~ "The absence of suffering in my life is not my good, the nearness of God is my great great good." Kara Tippets
682. God's steadfast love

683. A new day
684. Morning birdsongs
685. Blue skies

1 comment:

  1. Hi Tina, So glad to hear spring is slowly arriving in the frozen north! Your images are wonderful, as always. I watched Kara's service too, and am re-reading "The Hardest Peace." She is certainly a wonderful example of a mother and a Christian. Would love to see the video w/your images.