Today is Friday, the second of April, 2021. Good Friday in Holy Week.
Resurrection Sunday is the day after tomorrow.
C has the day off today. I don’t think we were expecting that, and she didn’t realize it until a week or so ago. I’m not taking the day off.
My mother finally got her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine! She called me the day before yesterday to tell me that she had finally gotten a call to notify her that it was her turn to get one, so a blessed friend took her yesterday morning.
We also finally got the notification for S’s second dose, which will be next Tuesday morning. I will be taking the day off, and will take her to get her shot.
In other news, the Texas Rangers’ Opening Day, yesterday, was the opposite of spectacular. The pitching for both teams was disappointing, to say the least. By the end of the first inning, the score was 5-5, and by the middle of the second inning, both starting pitchers were gone. In fact, the Rangers’ opener didn’t even last a full inning. Final score, Royals 14, Rangers 10. The Rangers hit no home runs, while the Royals hit three. I was also surprised to find Andrew Benintendi playing for the Royals. I found out later, that he was traded earlier this year, in a three team deal. He was previously with my other favorite team, the Boston Red Sox.
Speaking of the Red Sox, it appears that their home opener was postponed. That happens a lot in the northeast, around opening day. They were supposed to play Baltimore, at Fenway. They will try again today, with Nathan Eovaldi taking the mound for Boston.
The Rangers have the day off. Probably a good thing.
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
"O Lord, you have mercy on all. Take away my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of your Holy Spirit. Take away my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore you, a heart to delight in you, to follow and to enjoy you, for Christ’s sake. Amen." (Prayer for A Renewed Heart, St. Ambrose)
they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.
I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.
(Psalms 22:13-15 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
- for the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross
- that, though it is Friday, Sunday’s coming
- that You, Lord, are not far from me; You are my strength
- for my mental image of the scene in the midst of the Holy Trinity, between the death and resurrection of Christ
- for the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world
Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year
LENT – DAY 39 – GOOD FRIDAY
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
(John 1:29 ESV)
I pause, this morning, to reflect on the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.
For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?
(Psalms 22:1 NIV)
All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
“He trusts in the LORD,” they say, “let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”
(Psalms 22:7-8 NIV)
They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.
But you, LORD, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
(Psalms 22:18-19 NIV)
It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS. They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!”
In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”
Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
(Mark 15:25-39 NIV)
DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION
As I sit quietly in the presence of the Lord, this morning, remembering that I (as well as all of you) am precious to Him, I read these passages, asking the Holy Spirit to teach me, to draw me in closer, to speak to my soul.
As I read, once again, David’s psalm, which so accurately predicts the scene which we commemorate this day, I notice verse 19. “But you, LORD, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.”
As Jesus hung on the Cross, near death (this morning I learned that, as I am typing this blog, it is about forty minutes until the time of Jesus’s death in Jerusalem, as it is 2:20 in the afternoon, at this moment), He knew that His Father was not far from Him. Yes, He will cry out, in a little over a half hour, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” But that moment, which may have seemed like eternity, would only last a short time.
And His Father, would, indeed, come quickly to help Him. I can only imagine the scene between the death and resurrection of Jesus. I wonder what was going on in the Holy Trinity during those three days. I expect it must have been quite beautiful, as the love between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is infinitely beyond what any of us could even imagine.
As Jesus breathed His last, at least one of the soldiers standing there had a glimpse of the Holy, and said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
May the Holy Spirit give all of us the same glimpse today.
Father, today is a somber day. Yes, we call it “Good Friday,” but it is mixed feelings that we have when we commemorate. We know that, without this day, we would be lost; there would be no salvation, no forgiveness of sin, no relationship with You. But it chills our souls and saddens us to see what happened to our Savior on this day. Up to this moment, as He hangs on the Cross, He has been beaten, almost beyond recognition; He has been mocked and scorned; all of it unfairly, as His only crime was making fools of the religious leaders of the day. As I walk through this day, today, may this scene be on my mind; may I ponder it, meditate on it, on the words that came out of His mouth during the event. Yes, I know what is coming. But for today, may I think only on the Cross, and what my Savior endured for our sake.
Crucified Savior, on this dark day it seems crass and opportunistic to think of your death as an advantage to me. And yet, we call this Friday good because through your death, my old self is crucified, put to death, buried with you, and no longer rules. Today, I dedicate my life as an offering of gratitude to you. Amen. (Heidelberg Catechism 43)
In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”
(Revelation 5:12 NIV)
At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
(Matthew 27:46 NLT)
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.
“The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again. No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
(John 10:14-18 NLT)
My Savior, Jesus, to say I am grateful that You allowed these things to be done to You is not enough. There are not enough words. I love You, Jesus; thank You; may my life belongs to You; do with it as You will.
Lord, during this day, please give me a depth of gratitude for the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. Give us more of a capacity to know suffering, alongside our brothers and sisters. For any who might be entertaining doubts, today, may Your Holy Spirit give them the glimpse of holiness that the centurion saw. Show them, Lord, who You really are, and what You have done for them.
I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.