It’s Good Friday, my most moving time of the year.
Like a symphony that begins with heavy groans and foreboding I begin another Easter season of reflection. In my youth, this season did not hold such reverence. I can remember being in that little country church from noon through 3 pm. listening to the local deacons pontificate on the last words of Christ. This was in the great metropolis of Kitson Town, eight miles north of Spanish Town.
I still remember plotting with my brother and cousins a scheme to satisfy our hunger from the imposed fast, as we were not allowed to eat until after 3 pm. We were shamed to think that it was selfish to consider our physical hunger while Jesus was going through the height of his agony.
As they say, confession is good for the soul, so let me share our game plan. We confiscated some bun and cheese, and secured it in a tree in the church yard. We would then arrange to go to the rest room, and meet for our mini feast.
Before you re-damm me for my youthful irreverence, let me share the two hymns that have been stitched into my DNA from those early years – Isacs Watts, When I survey the Wondrous Cross, and Cecil Alexander’s There is a Green Hill Far Way.I look forward to singing these again with vigor even if it is in the shower.
This holy week began for me when I experienced the cross through a new perspective; the eyes of a Roman Centurion. It was my privilege to witness a 45 minutes soliloquy of Dr. Stenbakken, who has developed many Bible characters and gives them a vibrant presence in our present age.
Dr. Stenbakken in costume that he custom made.
His fertile imagination tells the story of the centurion found at the foot of the cross. Longinus is the chief Centurion over all the personal troops of Pilate. As such, he found himself in charge of the crucifixion. No problem for him. He has put many people to death by sword and hand to hand.
This will be nothing – until he actually met Jesus. He can not understand this man who changes everyone, and ultimately Longinus as well. It is this Centurion’s cry, “This was the Son of God!” that rings through history. When he volunteered to be in charge of the guards at the tomb, his life was changed forever.
Is there a more powerful symbol of Divine love?
I invite you to take some quiet time to reflect on the life who changed time and history.
Let me wish you a rich Easter season.
Resurrection does not make a covenant with death, it overthrows it.