Sunday, March 23, 2008

Joy and deliverance

On Friday night, I went to the movies, right in the comfort of my own chilly basement. I watched "The Passion of the Christ" once again. I'd seen it in the theater when it first came out, and since then I'd been working up the nerve to see it again. I sat on the futon, alone, and I watched the events unfold on screen. And because I was alone, I was able to watch with utter abandon. I was permitted complete emotional expression, short of howling loudly enough to wake my son upstairs.

It was heart-wrenching. I sat there, sobbing, watching our Lord accept punishment that He didn't deserve. And yes, it was Mel Gibson's interpretation, and Mel has done and said some unholy things in his life...but by golly, he stuck to the story from the Bible pretty darned well. I couldn't tell myself that this was a good movie. It's a true story. It happened. I believe it, and the film would have been hard to watch even if I'd known it was totally fictional. It's not fiction.

I commend Mel for telling the bloody tale in a way that broke my heart, just as it should. It's one thing to read the words "crucify," and another altogether to grasp what a crucifixion entails. Thankfully, the ugliness of the crucifixion stands in stark contrast to the One who withstood it out of sheer love. Love we didn't earn, can never earn, can only receive and be humbled by.

The words below are from one my favorite church songs, a contemporary song called "In Christ Alone." I hope the words fill you with joy just as they do me.


In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
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

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost it's grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Brought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand


Happy Resurrection Day to you.

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