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Archive for April 6th, 2012

What does sin look like?  No, it does not look like the front page of the newspaper, or the daily internet feed…that’s too easy, for then I can say, It’s them, not me…that somehow I am exempt from the sin of the world for which Christ Jesus came? I am not.

If I think I am, I lie and His truth is not in me, but beloved in the Lord, His truth is in me. 

What does sin look like?  It looks like the Word picture, the verbal icon we just heard from St. John’sGospel and as we sung and prayed in O Sacred Head, Now Wounded.  Sin looks like Jesus Christ: there, in Him as He is beaten, flogged, derided, spat upon, impressed with a crown of thorns, mocked, whipped 39 times, chained, bound, nails pounded into His feet and hands, thirsting…bloody and naked.  Adam, after he ate of the tree to become like God, saw he was naked and he was ashamed.  Jesus died naked for all to see, bearing the shame on the Tree for you and for me, so He calls us to His own.

What is unbearable to see in my self, He makes bearable by carrying our shame. He has.  once and for all: He does and He will be our Savior.  Not just in one time of decision, but His decision is to be your Lord day by day.    What is unbearable to see in your self, He has bourn.  Do not look inward, look outside into His Face, His Cross, His Word, His life.  This word picture is for you that when sin and sorrow oppresses, we see not only what our sin looks like but we hear who our Savior is and immensity of His burden. For you. The two most important words in Holy Communion are For you, as in His body broken for you, His blood shed for you.  Everyone of His Words from the Cross are for you. I will focus on two:

In the old B.C. comic strip by the late Johnny Hart, two cavemen are gazing off and the one asks, “Do you believe in heaven or hell?” “It depends on what I did the night before.”

This is great cartoon!  It is a great cartoon of God’s Law!  On Good Friday we are reminded heaven or hell depends finally and fully  upon what He did…for you!  He does not want to give you hell, but His heaven as the thief on His right hand knew he deserved,  as we all do, and there on his cross he confessed his sin:

 

 39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”  St. Luke 24

There is little ditty, made popular by the Taize community, with the lyric straight from thief on the cross, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  It is simply repeated again and again and again, but it never comes to the answer to the thief’s repentant prayer and his answer, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”[1] This is what finally matters and upon which our salvation rests in true repentance…today you will be with Me in Paradise:  for you.  Even before the last day, when we know of the Lord’s love toward us it is paradise even now:  for you.     

 

It is finished. Finished…come to a completion, fulfilled. Here in His Body is the beginning of the end of the world and beginning of eternal life in Him…for you.


[1] Insight courtesy of Pastor Mark Jasa, campus minister at USC, from his video blog

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COLLECT OF THE DAY

Almighty God, graciously behold this Your family for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed and delivered into the hands of sinful men to suffer death upon the cross; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

READINGS: 

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Psalm 22 (antiphon: v. 1)

or Psalm 31 (antiphon: v. 1)

 Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9

John 18:1-19:42

or John19:17-30

GRADUAL      (Heb. 9:12a, c, 15a; Ps. 111:9a)

[Christ] entered once for all into the holy places, by means of I his own blood,* thus securing an eternal redemption.

Therefore he is the mediator of a new I covenant,*

so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal in heritance. He sent redemption to his I people;*

he has commanded his covenant for- I ever.

I am shut in so that I cannot escape; my eye grows dim through I sorrow. Every day I call upon you, O LORD; I spread out my I hands to you. For my soul is full of I troubles,*

and my life draws near I to Sheol.

VERSE:

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  (Is. 53:4)

But if any honest Christian wants to know why the Lord suffered death on the cross and not in some other way, we answer thus: in no other way was it expedient for us, indeed the Lord offered for our sakes the one death that was supremely good. He had come to bear the curse that lay on us; and how could He “become a curse” otherwise than by accepting the accursed death? And that death is the cross, for it is written “Cursed is every one that hangs on a tree.” Again, the death of the Lord is the ransom of all, and by it “the middle wall of partition” is broken down and the call of the Gentiles comes about. How could He have called us if He had not been crucified, for it is only on the cross that a man dies with arms outstretched? Here, again, we see the fitness of His death and of those outstretched arms: it was that He might draw His ancient people with the one and the gentiles with the other, and join both together in Himself.  even so, He foretold the manner of His redeeming death, “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Myself”  Athanasius of Alexandria

Reflection:  This is great cartoon!  It is a great cartoon of God’s Law!  On this Good Friday we are reminded heaven or hell depends finally and fully  upon what He did…for you!  He does not want to give you hell, but His heaven as the thief on His right hand knew he was deserving as we all do, and there on his cross he confessed his sin:

 39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”  St. Luke 24

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