- On Thanksgiving we remember the Pilgrim's, their struggle and their sacrifice to build a place where they could freely worship God and raise their families
- On Memorial Day we remember the soldiers who have given their lives so that our freedom could survive
- On Independence Day we remember the battle fought against Britain so that we could become a free nation
- On Veteran's Day we remember those who have served our nation, promoting freedom and democracy in the world and defending the rights of Americans to remain free
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
...and without the shedding of blood
there is no remission of sins...
A heaviness comes over my heart every year at this time, as I am sure you feel the same. It's almost a shameful heaviness because it seems that when I take a good look at the cross and see my sin, my guilt, my shame being punished, the sacrifice of Jesus becomes so much more personal. I think I feel ashamed because it takes a holiday to remind me of my sin. But I am thankful that a "holiday" has been given, at least for now, to allow me to remember, just like all national holidays are intended to do:
On each of these days, we remember the sobering sacrifice made so that we can be...free. Then we live however we want the rest of the year until we are reminded again. But truth be known, I don't think our soldiers or our founders want us to live in a constant state of mourning, but instead, exercise and enjoy the freedom that is our because of their sacrifice.
I believe this is the heart of our heavenly Father, as well. He wants us to understand that because of Jesus' sacrifice, we are free from the bondage and punishment that comes with sin. He tells us there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. He wants us to live life to the fullest, giving us His Spirit and His Word to teach us how to enjoy our new found freedom.
And yet, it is important to remember. Jesus wants us to remember. That's why He established the communion table as a time to soberly remember His sacrifice. And perhaps that's why all over the world this week people, who have no idea why, will pause to think about the cross. But we know why.
Without the heaviness of Friday there is no joy on Sunday.
So let's remember this week. Let's let the heaviness surround us. Let's read the accounts in scripture and slip our feet into the sandals of the characters. Let's turn our heads away from the ghastly realities of the scourging and feel our chests heave when we see Jesus stumble on the Via Dolorosa. Let's let the smells and the sounds of the cross hit us in waves. Let's stay long enough to watch Joseph and Nicodemus take Jesus' body away and let's peer from behind a tree in the garden as the men struggle to push the rock over the grave opening. Let's find time to feel the loss, the brokenness, the death of our Savior. Let's let the sights that confuse the world sink into our hearts, because we know that without the shedding of blood, there is no remission, no cancellation, no suspension, no forgiveness of sins.
It's only for a few more days and when Sunday comes, I believe the heaviness of Friday enhances the glory of the sunrise on Sunday morning, the glory of the fact that the tomb is empty and that we are forgiven. We serve a living God and He wants us to fully enjoy the fruits of His labors.
It's Friday but Sunday is coming.