Friday, April 14, 2017

The Sun Stopped Shining

It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining… he breathed his last.
(Luke 23: 44-46, NIV)

I was reflecting earlier in the week on my childhood memories of Holy Week. My Dad was Pastor of our church so inevitably our whole family life at Easter took on the shape of Holy Week beginning with the noisy praise and bustle of Palm Sunday, the together time of Maundy Thursday, right through to Easter Sunday celebrations. Good Friday and Easter Saturday always had a solemn heaviness all their own. A tangible weightiness, more than sorrow or sadness, I suppose looking back I experienced them as a hush, an expectant hush. A holding of breath, a waiting for Sunday.

The sense in which ‘normal life’ (whatever that is!) simply stopped as we stood and heard those words, imprinted on my heart early on the utter gravity of the event of the cross. The cost. The implications. The impact still being felt today.

Despite knowing the story wasn’t finished until Sunday came, Good Friday had a timelessness, a stillness in which as a child I remember finding myself hoping, seemingly against the odds, that my Jesus would do it… would defeat the darkness, would win… that this wouldn’t be the end.

"My life’s on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning, waiting and watching till morning." (Psalm 130:6, MSG)

The whole of creation holds its breath, watching, waiting, breaking.
He breathes his last.

It seems almost impossible for our family life to stand still, for us to sense hush. Sometimes it happens, in extreme circumstances, maybe a shocking news flash on TV, or an unexpected phone call. Today is one of those days. The event of the cross changes everything. Jesus dies, and it should have been me, it should have been you. I can only think he must love me, he must love you.

Lord Jesus, I am stilled by your powerful unexpected love again today. I cannot turn away, I wait for you more eagerly than I long for the morning when I can’t sleep and the kids have had me up all night! I wait to see the sunrise in all its glory and color and feel its life-giving warmth and light as you scatter my darkness. Amen

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