A Reflection for Good Friday
While I wrote this reflection in the first person earlier in Lent, it seemed most appropriate to post on Good Friday.
Am I looking to gain something or am I looking to die? Am I looking for the security of this place I call my temporary home or am I living with a homesick sort of faith that will only be satisfied by His Kingdom coming in greater fullness? Am I living as a stranger and foreigner in this land…or am I somehow a citizen here that is somewhat satisfied by what I find? True life will only be experienced by me once my desires, my wishes, my wants, my brokenness has finally been put to death. Now, I know that I will have to wait until I come into Jesus’ Presence for this to be fully so, but I want more of it now.
I don’t want to wait for a fuller life – His Life being lived through me. I also don’t want to fake it as if by claiming His victory while still living however I please is truly embracing a full life. No, the way forward is the way of the cross, the way of obedience, the way of sacrifice, the way of death. For generations our spiritual fathers and mothers have known that. For generations they have pointed the way forward. It is just now that I have too much stuff and too many comforts and too many distractions and too much leisure to truly walk that same path that they had worn through the wilderness of life. The path has become overgrown and overcome by the briers and thorns that so easily snag me because of comfort and materialism and consumerism and excess. I now struggle to walk the path of simplicity and poverty and sacrifice. I struggle to see my way.
I have replaced the well worn path with choices to walk on the sidewalk of a new kind of belief that tells me that Jesus only wants the best of the best for me – so no more suffering, no more pain, nice clothes, nice car, nice home, nice family, nice everything – only excess does He wish to lavish on me. I now am surrounded by voices that tell me that “God” wants to give me bigger and better things, a better kind of job and a larger house and better entertainment. Will I have enough to afford all of my desires and take a vacation on top of it? I find it interesting how often “God’s” voice sounds like my desires for comfort. Could it be that this theology not only describes the name it and claim it preachers, but that it also has become a part of what it means to be a well off, privileged Evangelical believer?
It is a theology that seeps in there and makes me feel strangely comfortable. And, what do I do with this nagging voice inside of me that continues to consider, “Is this really what its all about?” What will I do with that burning in the depths of my heart that knows Jesus is calling me to focus more of my attention to the poor and the vulnerable YET it would cost me so greatly to throw more than scraps their way. It might mean a radical lifestyle shift. It might mean living in an upside down kind of way. What would the neighbors think, after all? What if they mock me like they did Noah as he lost his mind and started building an ark in his front yard?
All the while the path continues to grow over and the sidewalk becomes an easy place to walk – I now even feel entitled to walk there. I am no longer a servant, but am becoming a master of sorts. As I walk the sidewalk I talk about my rights and what I deserve and I come close to making demands of God in my words and my attitude…is this really the path that Jesus blazed in obedience unto death and that generations of saints have continued to walk before my time?
The path calls to me. The path that leads to both death and life all at the same time. The path of difficulty and trial and pain…and discipleship. The path that leads to the cross…and resurrection. O God help me to choose that path.