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Friday Before Sunday

Every year during Holy Week, I find myself wanting to get to Easter.  Easter is light and bright; it’s green grass, blue sky, an orange sun. 
Easter is Jesus’ victory over death.
Easter is “I have seen the Lord!”  
But to get to Easter, you have to go through Friday.  Friday is dark; it’s gray, even black.
And red.
Friday is whips, thorns, and nails. 
Friday is “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 
In my desire to get to Sunday, I want to be sure I don’t move too quickly through Friday.  Today, I want to think often about how Jesus died and why Jesus died.  Today, I want to think often about how His death allowed me to come to life.
There is a songwriter named Stuart Townend who has written two songs that many of us will recognize:  In Christ Alone and How Deep the Father’s Love For Us.  In both songs, Townend clearly identifies my brokenness, that is, my scorning, mocking, and scoffing. 
In Christ Alone
This gift of love and righteousness, scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid.
Here in the death of Christ I live
How Deep the Father’s Love For Us
Behold the man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there until it was accomplished.
His dying breath has brought me life, I know that it is finished.
Scorning, mocking, scoffing.  
And yet…
“Here in the death of Christ I live.”
“His dying breath has brought me life.”
How?  Why?
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.  (Ephesians 2:4-5)
I am – we all are – looking forward to Sunday.  But first, let us throughout this day reflect on the great love that God has for us.  Reflect on the great love that God has for you.
A love so great that in spite of our sin, He endured the whip, the thorns and the nails, and by doing so, defeated the power of sin, rescuing us from death and bringing us to life.
“I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned unclean.
For me it was in the garden He prayed, “Not my will, but Thine.”
He had no tears for His own griefs, but sweat drops of blood for mine.
In pity angels beheld him, and came from the world of light
To comfort Him in the sorrows He bore for my soul that night.
When with the ransomed in glory His face I at last shall see
Twill be my joy through the ages to sing of His love for me.
How marvelous!  How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:  How marvelous!  How wonderful is my Savior’s love for me!
(I Stand Amazed In the Presence – Charles Gabriel)
The Lord bless you and keep you!
Pastor Bill