Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday's Uncomfortable Silence

The first time I went to the Good Friday service offered by my church, I was very uncomfortable. The room was dark and lit with candles. As I sat in silence waiting for the service to start, I soon realized the silence was intentional and this was the experience offered. I continued to squirm in my seat as the eerie quiet forced me to reflect on what Jesus did for me over 2000 years ago.

Silence and darkness are not an environment I welcome. These days, it is rare to find those moments where we can just reflect. Noise is so commonplace that if I walk into the house without my children, I reach for the television remote to break the silence and feel a bit more comfortable.
We want to be comfortable. Especially in America. This Lenten season, in particular, I have realized that comfort is a big obstacle in my relationship with God. For it is in my uneasiness that God draws me closer to Him. In the silence, I can hear the voice of God.

Tonight, Southfield Community Church is offering a Good Friday service at The Warehouse at 7pm. There is no childcare provided. Those in attendance will be forced to reflect on the pain and suffering Jesus went through for one purpose alone. I am still far from comfortable when I attend but I know I will experience God.

If you are unable to attend a Good Friday service, can I challenge you to spend a few minutes in uncomfortable silence reflecting on what Jesus did for you? The remembrance of this weekend is not only the foundation for our faith, but for our life and for eternity as well.

Who believes what we've heard and seen? Who would have thought God's saving power would look like this?

The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried— our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures. But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We're all like sheep who've wandered off and gotten lost. We've all done our own thing, gone our own way. And God has piled all our sins, everything we've done wrong, on him, on him.

He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn't say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence. Justice miscarried, and he was led off— and did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people. They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave with a rich man, Even though he'd never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn't true.
Still, it's what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he'd see life come from it—life, life, and more life. And God's plan will deeply prosper through him.

Out of that terrible travail of soul, he'll see that it's worth it and be glad he did it. Through what he experienced, my righteous one, my servant, will make many "righteous ones," as he himself carries the burden of their sins. Therefore I'll reward him extravagantly— the best of everything, the highest honors— Because he looked death in the face and didn't flinch, because he embraced the company of the lowest. He took on his own shoulders the sin of the many, he took up the cause of all the black sheep.

Isaiah 53 (The Message)

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