Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Where Will You Go for Him?

Easter weekend begins in two days with Maundy Thursday. First comes the night of solemn remembrance, then the day of agony, and finally the morning of joy.

How many of these emotions will we really feel?

Will we come to church on Easter just to "go through the motions," reserving our real enthusiasm for the big meal afterwards? Will we grumble if it rains this Sunday and the only available parking spaces are four blocks from the church? Will we act as if God owes us a perfect day as a reward for showing up?

Many people do all of the above. Not all that surprising, considering that they act the same way on "ordinary" Sundays--and through the rest of the week. From the attitudes of many Christians, one would think that Jesus had said, "I have come that you might live free of trouble, and have all the possessions you want." (What He really said was, "I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full. [But] in this world you will have trouble" [John 10:10; 16:33, NIV]). Although few of us would dare state outright, "I owe God nothing, and He owes me everything," our everyday lives say clearly that we believe as much.

Part of the problem is our difficulty with focusing our attention where it belongs. We pat ourselves on the back for being law-abiding citizens and forget how much evil lurks within us. We wear crucifixes as jewelry and never give a thought to the cruelty and agony of that death. And we recite John 3:16 by rote without once considering how unbelievable, how utterly unreasonable, it is that God should love the likes of us even a little, let alone to the extent of enduring what He did--and that His love should continue even though the majority of us respond with appalling ingratitude. That includes those of us who said "yes" to His offer of salvation but whose favorite daily prayer is, "What have You done for me lately?"

If we truly appreciated what He has in fact done for us, we would be more than ready to do anything for Him.

He stumbled down that fateful road
And up that looming hill,
And bore that heavy wooden beam,
All of His own free will,
Among a jeering, cruel crowd
And to a fate so grim:
He went the road of death for you--
Where will you go for Him?

And though a whip had ripped His back
Until His blood ran red,
Though nails had pierced His hands and feet,
And thorns had pierced His head,
And though His throat burned raw with thirst--
Pain wracked His every limb--
He gave His very life for you--
What will you give for Him?

There was no power in all of hell
To stop Love's perfect plan;
There was no power in death itself
To hold the Sinless Man.
When evil's might had done its worst
And brightest hopes burned dim,
He rose up from the dead for you--
Will you rise up for Him?

No comments: