Friday, April 2, 2010
AT ONE MENT!
This is the time of year for New Beginnings. Spring time, when Natures awakes from it's dormant slumber and new life sprinkles the landscapes around us. The are becomes warmer and more sweet, the days become longer and brighter and the hope of long days in the sun arise within us. Mother natures has awakened the earth.
Is it any wonder we Celebrate the the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in the spring?
Today around the world Christians are celebrating "Good Friday." 6pm last night, Thursday, our Jewish friends would have started their Passover celebration.
The Lord commanded his people to paint the blood of a Lamb on their doors after Pharaoh ordered death of each first-born. For those who did this death was passed over and did not strike that household. Waking up alive the next morning was a GOOD FRIDAY INDEED.
For Us Christians (YES, MORMONS ARE CHRISTIANS... we've BEEN through this before)It is the anniversary of Passover and the Last Supper. Jesus with crew gathered for the passover dinner, we call it the Last Supper also know it as the First Sacrament.
IN THIS UPPER ROOM:
The tables arranged in the shape of a "U." John, the one responsible for the meal would sit on the far right of the short table. Jesus, the host, in the center, and Judas, the guest of honor to the far left.
"JUDAS? The guest of honor?" you say. That's right I said Judas was the guest of honor.
Peter, who Jesus had chosen to lead the church after himself, was seated in the lowest station. He who would betray Jesus sat in the highest position. He who was named to lead in his place, sat in the lowest position.
Confusing? NOT SO MUCH! IN that Upper Room Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. The Holiest of them all knelt down and served even the lowliest of them all. Status was erased. The washed the feet of the most elect in that room (Peter) the same as he washed the one of the lowest station (Judas.) His love did not measure out more and less according to who was before him.
Did he give up his dignity to serve? Or did he magnify is dignity by serving?
Jesus broke bread with his disciples and told it was in remembrance of his flesh and to them to partake of it. After the meal he passed a cup and they drank in Remembrance of Him and the blood he would shed.
The blood of another lamb would be shed to save those who believe. Could it be the ancient passover law was now replaced with a new one?
Jesus and his crew sang hymns and sometime in the night went to Gethsemane. He was heart broken and grieved. asked his Crew,those closest to him to keep watch while he pray. He entered the garden exhausted, we are told he fell on his face. The crew being tired kept falling asleep. Thus truly leaving Jesus Christ alone to accomplish that which he needed to do.
He prayed to his father. You know those prayers we have when we don't really want to go through with something
"Daddy if at all possible... "
(Yeah, we know those kinds of prayers. Well I know them..) We have to sometimes say it and say it again... and again, until we find that place of surrender and submission, giving in to the father's will. He prayed the same prayer 3 times. He indicated the spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak. Maybe it took 3 times for the flesh to get to the point of submission. And finally he spoke those words we should all be prepared to speak:
"Thy will be done..."
ON THIS GOOD FRIDAY Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior prayed more earnestly in his Agony. ON this Good Friday is when Jesus became our Savior by suffering the sins of the world:
Every person who lived before him, every person who lived with him, every person who would life after him. Every sorry, every heartache, every depression. Every betrayal, every stroke of the massa's whip, every beheading at the kings command, every poke, prod, scar, scrape. Every disappointment, embarrassment abuse, addiction, disease and discomfort known to mankind.
He felt it all and he took it on willingly. So much so that the "unwilling" flesh opened up and released his blood for OUR sake. We have been paid for. More than once we have been paid for. Thousands of years before we set foot on the earth, We have been paid for.
So when you sing songs like "OH HAPPY DAY... When Jesus Washed my sins away..." You recognized that he watered the garden of Gethsemane with his blood so that we may grow closer to him. It is called the ATONEMENT. He atoned for our sins. This is what makes us His and Him ours. This is the AT-ONE-MENT. This is the purpose for our weekly Sacrament.
As if Suffering the sins of the world were not enough, the mobs came and Jesus was Kissed and then taken by the mobs.
He was taken to Pilate who found no fault with him, And then Herod who send him back to Pilate. The people would rather have a known criminal amongst them than to allow Jesus to walk away free.
With a body all ready exhausted and having bled those great drops of blood in our behalf, they scourged him, tearing his flesh and beating him brutally and placing a crown of thorns on his head. Jesus,carrying his cross, was paraded down the road to Golgotha, physically, spiritually, emotionally spent. When he could walk no further, Simon a cyrenian was seized and commissioned by soldiers to carry the cross for him.
It was soon after that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was nailed to the boards and hung to die.
I believe Jesus continued to live as long as he felt the presence of the Lord with him. And when the Lord withdrew from him, he stayed as long as he needed to fulfilled the journey and when it was done... "IT IS DONE..." He willingly gave up the ghost.
The earth and the elements responded in anger and sadness. The sun hid it's face in horror, grief and sorrow. The earth mourned in darkness.
On that glorious Sunday morning the tomb was empty. The Savior of all Mankind, so brutally humiliated, broken and abused had overcome all there would be to overcome.
The Sun then showed its face upon "THE SON." Is it any wonder that the Earth renews itself? Perhaps as a symbol of the ultimate rebirth?
Many Churches have the Cross as a symbol of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Our Churches do not. It is not because we don't believe in Good Friday or the Crucifixion. We believe it. We honor it and Our Savior Jesus Christ who so willingly died for us. Our hope is in that of the Resurrection.The Good News that he is Risen
As a collective group we Mormons don't have Good Friday Services or traditions but believe we do Honor Good Friday, individually and in our own way. He had to die in order to rise.
This Easter with your bunnies and eggs, chocolates and peeps, Ham and Potatoes, brunch, hot crossed buns and whatever else you do to celebrate the anniversary of our greatest gift ,Spend sometime recognizing and really pondering the supper held in THIS ROOM
and the magnitude of love The Lord our God and his Son Jesus Christ have for you and yours. And know that is is never failing and ever strong.
"NAILS DIDN'T KEEP JESUS ON THE CROSS. LOVE KEPT JESUS ON THE CROSS!"