Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

Today, when it came time for me to post to my blog, I was unsure about my movie review of One Night With The King. I wondered if it was reverential enough for a day like Good Friday. Should I really spend my time critiquing and tearing apart a Christian film on a day meant for reflection and prayer? It seemed slightly superficial and not in step with the day.

But as Tevye, one of my favorite movie characters, would say, "On the other hand..."

Last night's movie was the perfect jumping off point to Good Friday. A story of persecution, suffering, and prevailing against the odds had been stripped of all its meaning, forced into a mold of what "Christian" entertainment and ideals should be. At every point, the story had been sanitized. Esther was not being forced into a harem, she wanted to be there. The king was not a brute, but a romantic lover. The peril of Esther was nominal at best.

The urge to erase suffering from our lives is a natural impulse. It's not fun. It's painful. It makes us question ourselves and our beliefs.

We serve a great and mighty God, creator of Heaven and Earth, powerful enough to provide a way through the deserts of our lives. He is more than able to handle our puny disappointments and heartaches. And yet, so often He chooses and even compels us to walk the rugged, desolate paths of the wilderness.

Today, we reflect on the suffering that Christ bore for us. There is no Hollywood rescue scene for Christ. Pontius Pilate doesn't race to the cross with a last-minute pardon from Caesar. We don't see an envoy reaching Him a millisecond before the first nail is driven through his body, stopping the execution just in time. No. There is only the expected end to a day of torture, beatings, insults, and disdain. There is no relief as Jesus is lifted up and blood slowly drains from his veins, flowing into little pools in the sand, no relief from the hot sun blazing upon him, no relief from the taunts of the crowd or the pain of His followers. There is only suffering--an exacting of excruciating pain from an innocent man.

As His followers went home at the end of this tragic day, sorrow and despair were their only companions. No hope. No leader. No happy ending.

So, before we get to the joy of Easter and all that it portends, we must find the purpose of our suffering. For surely, suffering always has its purpose. Without truly comprehending the desperate situation before us, we can never appreciate what's coming next. just around the corner. in a few days time.

Isaiah 53:10a:

Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer....

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