A BIT OF A STRETCH
GOOD FRIDAY 2010
by Ian Robinson
"One for all and once for all" that’s Good Friday’s theme. It’s a bit of a stretch to grasp this.
St Paul tried: "that God was pleased to reconcile himself all things, whether on earth or heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross" Colossians 1.20.
To reach out and cover the distance, to make the gap close up, God stretched all the limits. On this day, as John Witvliet wrote recently, the one called ‘Living Water’ says ‘I thirst’, the one called ‘the resurrection and the life’ actually dies, the one called ‘great high priest’ becomes himself the sacrifice, the ‘King of Kings’ is killed like a common traitor. All this is so that he ransoms us, pays our debt, conquers all the evil we will ever have to face, opens the way to the loving Father, creates a well of healing, becomes the sacrifice to end all sacrifices, and we? We get the gift, the good stuff, the offer that should have you smiling like a lotto winner. And that would be a stretch.
But it is not lack of understanding that finds us struggling with it. IT is where we stand. I understand that rthere are many things that may be holding us a distance.
We might stand with those whole religious views are black and white, right and wrong, boxed up and unable or unwilling to see who they have before them. In Jesus we see a man of Spirit, in touch with God intimately, the living Word, the mystery revealed. So don’t stand there.
We might stand among those who pride themselves on being ‘realistic’, or real-politick, as the media has it. It’s a semi smart way of avoiding the value of true human being. It’s a semi cynical way to stay away from this love. In Jesus you are being loved more humanly, more divinely, more powerfully, more respectfully, more brilliantly than one mind can fully comprehend.
We might also feel plain unworthy of such a lavish love. I know it is hard t take in, but you’ve hit the jackpot. Your sins and shame are no barrier. It has all been really redeemed. The slate is really clean. This much (arms wide open on the cross) does Jesus love you, long for you and call for you.
We may not want to trust God. The world is cruel, brutish, unpredictable – how do we know that the creator is not also cruel? In Jesus we see, that’s why. The Father’s love had come to guide us back into the fullness of life and love that we were made for. You can trust God in this hurting world.
There it is. It is a stretch, I acknowledge. But that is a cross that I will gladly bear all my days