darkness cross

The story of Good Friday:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. … The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and his own people did not receive Him.” (John 1:1-11).

True Light came, but we did not receive Him. 

 The light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds be exposed.  But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been carried out in God.” (John 3:19-21)

People refuse to come to the Light because that blazing, burning, blinding Light reveals everything. It reveals the truth of who God is and of who we are.

So many, tragically, chose — choose — to live in darkness. 

And as Jesus began teaching and preaching and healing and performing miracles, many people were drawn to Him, but then would walk away. Just as we’re drawn to light and yet we don’t want it to reveal too much.

We want it to reveal our beauty but not our blemishes.  

We want to use the light for our own purposes. We want to be holding the light, shining outward, we don’t want to light to be above us, shining on us.

But Jesus was not a flashlight, to be wielded by whoever wanted to do their own thing. Jesus was the authoritative light, revealing truth, regardless of a person’s status.

Jesus boldly proclaimed,

“I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (John 12:46).  “I am the light of the world whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

And so Jesus walked this earth. He revealed, by his light-life, what God is like. He lived out the love of God. He revealed the Father God to us (John 14).

But most people didn’t want the light. They rejected the light.

They killed the light. 

They crucified the light on a cross.

“It was now the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed.” (Luke 23:44)

The light of the world was dying.

Even the sun failed the shine.

And so he gave up his spirit, died, and was buried in the darkness of a sealed tomb. And it seemed that the light of the world had been forever snuffed out.

But we know the end, right?

Death couldn’t hold Him. He rose from the dead, life triumphing over death, he rose victorious over sin, over satan. He rose and revealed the eternal story of God, the Good News of the gospel. That even though we chose darkness, even though thousands of years of rejecting God had taken place, God sent His Son as the ultimate rescue mission, the sacrifice and perfect atonement for the forgiveness of our sins.

Light triumphed over darkness. 

light

And finally, in The End,

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And He who is seated on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new. … And [in this heavenly city there will be] no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk … and there will be no night there … Nothing unclean will enter it … but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Rev. 21:4,5,23-27).

{May you receive the Light, walk in the Light, love the Light. If you’d like to talk about Jesus and His gospel more, please contact me here!  Have a blessed Good Friday. Thanks for reading.}

 

{ 4 comments }

photo (62)

I plunge my hands into the muddy water, winning his heart in this imaginary world of war.

“I just destroyed your aircraft carrier, Dutch. You’ll need a way better design next time.” He looks up at me delighted,  eyes dancing, sun sparkling in his blond hair. Soon, Heidi skips across the yard.

“Would you like to come to a party at my house?” Her face is light, eyes full of anticipation. For a moment I marvel at her eager vulnerability. It is one thing to invite someone to your house for a party. That’s a risk.  It is quite another to invite someone to an imaginary party.

Every time a child invites you into her imagination, she risks.

I see it most clearly in Dutch. We had settled down into Heidi’s playhouse, seated in miniature chairs sipping water-tea from plastic cups. Dutch grew quiet for a moment then looked me in the eye.

“I got a new job, down in LA.” He says the short statement and waits for a response.  It’s such a simple, mundane interaction–something most moms do every day. You play pretend, that’s what you do. But the enormity of it washes over me, as he waits for my response.

Will I take him seriously and play?  Will I accept this invitation into his innermost world? In just one sentence a child may open up her heart and world to us.  How do we respond?

“Oh? Down in LA? What are you doing there?”  A quick flash of joy comes across his face–and he continues in his deepest most serious voice. It’s a big job, overseeing all those aircraft carriers. Only two days off a year–Christmas and Easter. The pay is good though–$200/month.

We talk, like this, most of the afternoon. Heidi explains how her friend “lost her medical” and had to have her legs amputated. Then she had to go to DHS. (Having Julie in our life informs their imagination in humorous ways sometimes.) Later, Dutch is a WWII veteran. He tells me detailed stories of his heroic escapades, explains the intricacies of the war when I dig for more information.

I could almost see their little minds blossoming, opening, like little buds of creativity, connecting and exploring and risking and learning. And what an honor–a privilege–to be allowed into their innermost world of imagination.

Before Dutch was born, my sister-in-law threw me a baby shower. Each woman wrote one piece of advice on a little card. My pastor’s wife, a wise woman I’ve known 30 years, wrote:

“Win your child’s heart.”

She explained, “Win his heart, so he will never want to disappoint you. Love is a better motivator than guilt. A desire to please you will carry him through more temptation and struggle than all the rules and right answers in the world. Win his heart early on.”

There are many ways to do this. I haven’t mastered them. But entering our children’s imaginary worlds–with enthusiasm–is one of the most powerful ways to pursue their hearts when they are young.

Few invitations are more sacred than the invitation to enter the imaginary world of a little soul. 

When we enter in, we win

Go play. 

{Thanks for reading.}

 

{ 16 comments }

All that black mold inside your closet…

April 14, 2014

Spring cleaning. Exhilarating. Exhausting.  If you’re anything like me (and you may not be!), you spend most days just trying to maintain. My cleaning philosophy is I clean it if it bothers me, and all the stuff I don’t notice (which is plenty) is just fine for now. I don’t care much about under the […]

Read the full article →

On hard conversations and how sometimes love rings hollow …

April 11, 2014

‘And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”’ Mark 10:21 ~ The conversation had to happen but I had no idea how to do it. How […]

Read the full article →

When everything’s unraveling and you desperately need hope…

April 9, 2014

How on earth did everything unravel?  I replayed the conversation in my head. We were walking along the coffee aisle, she and I. Then somehow something went sideways because next thing I knew she was hyperventilating in the bread aisle and angry–at me. And the next night all fury broke loose and a her-hurricane blew […]

Read the full article →

Why can’t Oma swim? (On unanswered prayers and the way of childlike faith)

April 7, 2014

The car was quiet, Dutch lost in reading and Heidi gazing out the window, lost in thought. Then out of the quiet she spoke, the sound of desperation in her voice: “But I don’t know HOW to love God!” Her eyes were wide as I looked in the rearview mirror.  These are the moments I […]

Read the full article →

The dailiness that can lead to despair…

April 4, 2014

Why was I crying over taco salad? Jeff lovingly probed as I stirred beans. Asked searching questions. Tried to figure out what email I had received or who had said something unkind or what had gone on with the kids that led to the funk that enveloped his bride. I even went along with his questioning, trying to […]

Read the full article →

How hard should we push our kids?

April 2, 2014

How hard should we push our kids? This has been my most common homeschooling question. No matter what homeschooling method we choose, we all must determine how much and how we will guide/push/lead our children in the way they should go.  Even when we employ great tools like games, field trips, and delight-directed learning, we can’t […]

Read the full article →

God is good there too. {On fear and my journey to Japan}

March 30, 2014

I gave the room one last look, afraid I was forgetting something. The book sat there on my desk, as it had for months.  I hesitated a moment–it was borrowed from a friend and I didn’t want anything to happen to it on my trip–but I knew what Christine would say: Take it! Read it! […]

Read the full article →

For whatever ocean you must cross today…

March 26, 2014

I held back the tears til I got in the car.  Tilted the rearview mirror so the kids couldn’t see. Turned up the worship music so they couldn’t hear. And quietly cried all the way home. Nothing tragic, just the ocean waves of overwhelming realization … Oh God, I don’t know what I’m doing. Oh […]

Read the full article →