Sunday, April 16, 2017

Thanks Be To God

Friday.  Picture this, if you will.  A dimly lit sanctuary.  Usually gloriously brightened stained-glass windows blacked out.  A simple wooden cross draped in black, a crown of thorns sits atop of it.  A single Christ candle is lit in front of the gently-spotlighted cross. The flame extinguished at the end of our liturgy. "The death of Christ", our pastor states quietly. To which we respond, "Thanks be to God." Silence and near darkness, despite the noon hour, in the room.  Somber, reflective.  Some linger, many exit.  All reflecting.  

Thanks?  Yes, thanks.  For without this death, there can be no resurrection.  Without the shedding of blood, there can be no pardon of sins.  Mine.  Yes, mine.  And yours, too. Thanks be to God.

Come, behold the wondrous mystery; slain by death, the God of life;
But no grave could e'er restrain Him, praise the Lord, He is Alive!
What a foretaste of deliverance, how unwavering our hope;
Christ, in power, resurrected, as we will be when he comes.
~Come, Behold The Wondrous Mystery

Sunday.  The blinders have been removed.  The sanctuary is illuminated by the springtime sunlight. There is Light where darkness once prevailed.  The cross is now draped in white, innocence and Light.  So much Light.  Brass fanfare and bells toll the life-giving words that we are about to declare:

He is Risen
He is Risen, Indeed!

Thanks Be to God.

Image result for easter lily

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday: "Beneath Thy Cross"

Beneath Thy Cross

Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy Blood's slow loss,
And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon--
I, only I.

Yet give not o'er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.

Christina Rossetti