Monday, April 10, 2017

What Is this Holy Week All About?

Someone said to me the other day in reference to the coming week, “Well this is the week that we live at church.” Christian churches in our country are gearing up for multiple worship services at the end of the week with record attendance. Choirs and instrumentalists have been working on Tenebrae music and special anthems to celebrate this most important occasion. Sadly, many of those who will make an appearance in the pews this coming Sunday won’t really understand why they are there beyond obligation or familial tradition.

Easter week affords us the opportunity enter into the Gospel story. We welcome our Savior with the waving of palms and the singing of his praises on Palm Sunday. We receive his mandate to love one another as he has loved us in our celebration of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday. We deny we know him with Peter, shout “Crucify Him!” and see him beaten with the crowd. We watch him drag his cross and fall. We wail with Mary, John, and the others as Jesus is nailed to a cross, not for his sins for he is sinless, but for ours. We witness his agony and his death on Good Friday. We wait with the apostles and disciples on Saturday and celebrate Christ’s resurrection on Easter morning. We celebrate Easter week because it is the foundation of our faith.

“The death of Christ is the wisdom of God by which the love of God saves sinners from the wrath of God, and all the while upholds and demonstrates the righteousness of God.”  - John Piper

God of Love and Righteousness
Only You know why Lord
when You had no need of more
You took upon Yourself the crafting
of mankind – a largely thankless chore.
For we do not give the praises
that so rightfully belong to You.
Nor do we faithfully live in gratitude
for all the things You are or do.
You created us in Your own likeness
and breathed in us the Breath of Life
You called us sons and daughters
and talked and walked with us.
You shone Your light upon us
You provided our every need
Yet in our pride and arrogance
we renounced Your Divinity.
Sinful, we hid from Your holiness
when we should’ve fallen to our knees.
Now You, the Lord, had a quandary –
What’s a holy righteous God to do
when the object of Your affection
chooses sin and death
over Your perfection?
How can Your love allow us
to answer for our crimes – to die?
How can Your righteousness,
without our deaths, be satisfied?
Oh what a predicament You found Yourself in
and what were You to do?
You stayed Your hand of justice
just for a little while.
Long enough to arrange
for Your miraculous arrival.
In human flesh, yet sinless
You came into this world You made
and taught us to love and seek Your way,
to rely upon Your mercy.
You urged us all to repentance
to receive forgiveness in Your Name.
Then gallantly You took our place in death
to satisfy Your righteousness.
But death can’t hold the great I Am
and victoriously You rose to claim
those who rely upon Your sacrifice
to take away their sin and shame,
to restore in them Your holiness.
You’ve redeemed Your wayward children
O glorious God of love and righteousness.

God of Love and Righteousness is from Reflections, A Poetic Response to Psalm 119 by Maureen Profeta

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