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Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Paradox of Good Friday…

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminalsone on his right, the other on his left.  Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

Luke 23:33-34 (NIV)


No one is clear on the origins of the phrase “Good Friday,” but I can appreciate the paradox. God became man, took upon Himself the sins of the world, knowing that our redemption could only be assured by blood sacrifice. As Paul wrote in his letter to Ephesus,

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace…Ephesians 1:7 (NIV)

I have my own Good Friday paradox. My memory for some facts and events, at least among my family and friends, is legendary. I do not remember the date of my grandfather’s passing, after a long brave battle with a thoracic aortic aneurysm, except to say that is was on the morning of Good Friday. As I prepare for the celebration of the Resurrection each year, my joy in tempered by personal sadness. I celebrate God’s victory over the grave while suffering the personal and lingering pain of profound loss. It was the only Easter I did not commemorate in corporate worship, remaining at home instead, steeling myself to walk into the very sanctuary in which we should have worshipped, instead preparing to say a final goodbye.

This year Good Friday falls on what would have been my dad’s 80th birthday. Birthdays are good, but as time passes, I mark yet another year without the sound of his voice, the warmth of his embrace, questions he’ll ever answer, conversations we’ll never share. Though I prepare for great joy to come on Sunday, the paradox of Good Friday is clear to me.

My personal joy comes in the blessed assurance that my sorrowful goodbyes are not the end of the story, and I would not have that assurance without the Passion of the Cross. My personal Good Friday paradox is a study in Grace. My personal Good Friday paradox is a lesson in faith. If I believe, then even through my tears, I do not weep like those who have no hope. 

"Dear Lord, I come before You humbled by the sacrifice You made for me by giving up Your one and only Son so that I could have a relationship with You." Lord, thank you for Redemption. Thank You for Grace. Thank You that though I miss my father and grandfather, I appreciate the sacrifice, as it takes me back to Your great gift. Like You with Your Only Begotten Son, I have not said the last goodbye. In You, through You, I can say through my tears...
Dad, Papa-‘tll we meet again, Happy Easter.
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