beautiful scandalous miraculous

Go on up to the mountain of mercy
To the crimson perpetual tide
Kneel down on the shore
Be thirsty no more
Go under and be purified

Follow Christ to the holy mountain
Sinner sorry and wrecked by the fall
Cleanse your heart and your soul
In the fountain that flowed
For you and for me and for all

At the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree
On that beautiful scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white
On that beautiful, scandalous night

On the hillside, you will be delivered
At the foot of the cross justified
And Your spirit restored
By the river that poured
From our blessed Savior’s side

At the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree
On that beautiful scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white
On that beautiful, scandalous night

Go on up to the mountain of mercy
To the crimson perpetual tide
Kneel down on the shore
Be thirsty no more
Go under and be purified

At the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree
On that beautiful scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white
On that beautiful, scandalous night
-Derri Daugherty and Steve Hindalong

I am one of those people who finds the practice of Lent to be worthwhile, and this year I chose Lent as a time to try to make some healthier choices, both physically and mentally. A few years ago, I read something rather scathing about the idea of giving up chocolate (or whatever) for Lent. I composed a thoughtful reply in my mind, but I never got around to actually writing it down. For me, though, giving up things for Lent reveals to me how many other things I place in my life as comfortable barriers that help me deal with life’s stresses. It’s easier to eat cookies than to pray and reflect. It’s easier to mindlessly fill time on the internet than it is to face up to the things that cause questions and pain. I find when I give up something for Lent that it brings me to the end of myself in certain ways, pushes me to let go of some of my coping devices. This year during Lent, I was brought to the end of myself in unexpected ways, and it was ugly and painful and I am not proud of any of it. Here we are at the end, on Good Friday, and I am discouraged. It seems that some things will never change, that I will never get past this hurt and pain and find a simple faith.

For the past month, we have been talking about Passion Week with our Sunday School class. The kids acted out Palm Sunday at the beginning of the month, and since then we have talked about Jesus clearing out the temple, Passover, and the Garden of Gethsemane. On Sunday, we talked about Good Friday and made crosses out of nails. And we watched the end of The Miracle Maker, which I had never seen before. I was surprised at how moved I was to see the story, one that I have known for as long as I can remember.

I have an easier time believing in a big-picture sort of God, one who would send his son to save the world from sin and death. I don’t necessarily know what to do with the idea that God wants to be in some kind of relationship with us . . . and yet there are so many impersonal things that happen. It is easy to answer that question when it is someone else’s life. I find it more difficult when I am in the middle of all these questions, when I am asking, begging for help and I feel totally ignored.

Today is one of those big-picture days, and even though I don’t know what to do with some of my questions, I am comforted by the idea that Jesus loved and sacrificed for us, that he was so patient with his disciples who made mistakes and did not understand. Perhaps I, like Peter and Judas, have lost perspective on what it was that Jesus came here to do. Good Friday, then, is part of that beautiful, scandalous answer: Jesus suffered, not so we wouldn’t have to, but so that we would have someone to turn to in our suffering. Some days, that is not enough for me. On Good Friday, I pray that it will be enough.

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3 Comments

  1. i love everything about this post. it’s the entire reason why jesus did what he did on that beautiful scandalous night.

    Posted 4/2/2010 at | Permalink
  2. Susan

    We sang “Beautiful, Scandalous Night” at our Good Friday service. It was awesome. And I am all about the big picture right now.

    Posted 4/2/2010 at | Permalink
  3. Joy

    I just found your post when I googled “Beautiful, Scandalous Night” and wanted to tell you how much I loved your post. I especially appreciate your comment about losing your coping devices when you fast during Lent. I think it’s the reason that I don’t fast very often; coping & continuing is important to me. But your post reminded me today that it should not be more important than allowing Jesus to sanctify me. My success lies in becoming more like Jesus, and coping will never get me there. Thanks.

    Posted 7/5/2010 at | Permalink

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