Apr 6, 2007

good friday: my sacrifice

A few years ago, a band that used to be cool (and maybe still is) put out a song called "My Sacrifice" - perhaps you've heard these lines...

Hello my Friend, we meet again
It's been awhile,
where should we begin?
Feels like forever

Within my heart are memories
of perfect love
that You gave to me
Oh, I remember

When You are with me, I'm free
I'm careless, I believe
Above all the others we'll fly
This brings tears to my eyes
My Sacrifice

A couple of hundred years before that song was written, another piece was penned by George Herbert called "The Sacrifice." It is the source of the hymn "My Song is Love Unknown," playing on the paradoxes of Christ's suffering. There is some old school English in this, so work your way through a few of these lines...
Behold, they spit on me in scornfull wise,
Who by my spittle gave the blinde man eyes,
Leaving his blindnesse to my enemies:
Was ever grief like mine?

My face they cover, though it be divine.
As Moses face was vailed, so is mine,
Lest on their double-dark souls either shine:
Was ever grief like mine?

How amazing is this love?

Through a sacrifice,
further sacrifices were no longer needed.

Through a death,
further death was conquered.

So today is a day that marvels at the passionate love Christ demonstrated for us and His Trinity so that we might all be restored to each other through His once-and-for-all sacrifice. Although we remember on this day a time of great persecution for the Lord, we call it "good" because of His humble and undeserved goodness toward us and all of creation.

Don't skip over to the resurrection... stare into the Blood and Body today. Not just from a past perspective, nor even a future "heavenly" one - but also from a present "What does this mean for me?" mindset.

Perhaps this is hard because we don't like spending time in the uncomfortable concept of dying to self. Jesus lived it and also talked about it, and I wish that He meant that we should deny ourselves "something." That would mean that all I would have to do is to give up something for Lent or sacrifice a certain habit and then I'd be free and clear to do whatever I wanted.

But Jesus wasn't talking about giving something up. He talked about denying ourselves - to stop living as if we were the center of our lives. He says that only in sacrificially dying to ourselves do we discover true life.

This is what it means to follow Jesus.

If this messes with us - and it should, because it's going to cost us - Jesus also gives the other side. Some have suffered incredibly as a result of obeying these verses, but they would never go back because they're living with more freedom and life that was ever possible before. Jesus wants to take us to these places of liberation only dead people who have been resurrected can go.

So sacrificial living that I follow Jesus, no matter where he leads, and no matter what it costs… and consequently I get to discover true life. I stop relying on myself and give my life - all of my life – to God. So when I'm talking about finances, I'm not really talking about finances but the place God has in my life... or when I'm talking about time I'm not really talking about time but the place God has in my life.

Which is why this day of remembering is so important.

We read in the Bible about a guy who was arrested... but really, it's about more than an arrest. Not to mention a beating that happened where blood was shed... but really it's about more than the blood. And humiliation... and a cross... and insults... and a cry out.

At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:33-34)

When Jesus says this He is quoting a part of a passage from the Scriptures and expects His disciples to understand the rest of the passage. It’s a teaching technique rabbis use called "remez" (or "ramez") – it saves time. There’s more in Psalm 22… more of what Jesus is saying and more of what He is fulfilling. You might want to read it and pay attention to the way He is fulfilling a slice of the Story told about years earlier.

Much like when you and I die to self we fulfill a slice of the Story told about years earlier.

A few years ago I began writing a song I never finished... or maybe I did and it's just this simple.

With a heavenward face…
Lord, You hung in my place
With Your eyes on my soul…
You were making me whole
With the thorns on Your head…
and the holes where You bled
You allowed through Your pain…
a new life I might gain


Friar Tuck said...

good stuff....was that one pic from the jesus painter?

Movin' On Up To the East Side said...

I agree. It makes me feel better to know you were kidding.

I heard an illustration this morning that compared Christians to Susan B. Anthony coins. The coins are around, but they look so much like the quarters, you don't notice them much, so people don't realize how much they've got right in front of them because they can't tell the difference.

It's kind of sad considering we are to be the salt and the light of the world. I just want people to look at me and say, "I have to have what she has..." And that's Jesus.

Movin' On Up To the East Side said...

btw, I read this post a few times to get it all....let it all sink in...thanks for reminding me not to skip ahead til Sunday...

Phil Hoover, Chicago said...

Amazing...thanks for reminding me. All the things I go through are simply "these light afflictions."

Tony Myles said...

Friar - yep!

Movin - love that illustration!

Phil - totally agree!

Melanie Morales said...

I love your post today! I chose a good weekend to return to the blogging world!

Tony Myles said...

Thanks, Melanie!

(Just be glad you didn't return to my blog on February 24.)