Ancient-Future Grace


There is so much going on in Holy Week, that it is hard to catch the meaning and significance of it all. But there are a few points we don’t want to miss.  There is this mystery of time that we encounter during Holy Week.  The mystery of time is always present, but we are confronted by it in a powerful way during the Easter Season.  As mortal, created, humans, we experience time in a linear way.  Beginning, Middle, End.  The Omnipresent God of creation is not bound by this—he is Beginning, and End, and Right Now all at once.  Easter slams us up against this, as we encounter multiple events at once: Passover, The Crucifixion, and the present and the future reality of Salvation. Robert Webber calls this Ancient-Future.   The ancient occurrence of the Exodus where the Israelites came out of the slavery of Egypt, and the first Passover where a spotless lamb was sacrificed for each family and his blood poured out to mark the faithful and save them from death. We will sit with our reality and contemplate our slavery to sin, and the way it tries to encroach on our freedom in Christ in subtle (or overt!) ways as we sit in the Slave Garden.   We will symbolically reenact the spreading of the Passover lamb’s blood on the doorpost and lintel of our space. We will sit as a family around the table, as the light diminishes, as we hear the crowd cry out “Give us Barabbas!”  We will listen quietly as Jesus is crucified as the ultimate Passover Lamb.  We will drive in the nails and hang our sin on the cross.

Jesus was crucified on a Friday.  He was put in a tomb on a Friday.  On a Friday, in encroaching darkness, the people of God were left to contemplate.   “What have we done?” “Why did Jesus do it this way?”  And, “What will happen now?”

The way to Easter Sunday is through Good Friday.  The way to the Resurrection is through the Crucifixion. This is not cheap grace.  This is the costliest grace of all: that Perfection should be slaughtered for the sake of Imperfection.   That this miserable sinner might be saved from the slaughter by the only one who never sinned. Please come and celebrate on Easter Sunday, when we’ll revel in what Jesus accomplished on and after the Cross.  But come to Good Friday, where we remember that the cross was no easy thing.  Where we remember that the cross is where our would-be slave-holder wants to drive us; and that Jesus took our place there, snatching us forever away from the one who tries to put us in eternal slavery.  Come to Good Friday where we remember that Good Friday is something that we could never have done for ourselves.  Come to Good Friday to remember what is so spectacular about Easter Sunday.

Come to Good Friday.

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