Reminiscing on the Cross
March 25, 2016 I joined my husband’s family for a community Good Friday service. The first pastor got up to speak and all I could think was, “wow, he sure seems grumpy…” This affected me so deeply, because I am living and walking in the supreme joy and freedom provided by Christ’s resurrection. I wondered how people could seem so sad and grumpy when we KNOW how Good Friday ends. God challenged my heart as the service continued, to be in the moment. Each reading told another part of the story of Jesus’ trial, condemnation and crucifixion. He spoke to me that although we do have the privilege of living daily in resurrection grace and life, none of it would have been possible, nor grace have as great an effect, if there was no crucifixion.
This article challenged me:
On Sunday, churches everywhere will be overflowing with worshipers. Easter is the high point of the Christian year, a day of celebration and feasting for Jesus’ victory over death.
Yet there can be no resurrection without Good Friday. There is no new life in Christ without first the death of Jesus. To rush past Golgotha en route to Easter Sunday is like opening a gift without the heart to appreciate it (“cheap grace,” as Bonhoeffer called it). We can’t truly celebrate the end of anything without first starting at the beginning.
So as ugly as the cross is, we must start the journey to Easter in its shadow because that’s where our faith begins. The cross is the center of all theology. God is never more powerful than He is in this hour of humiliation. God is never more divine than He is in this moment of complete humanity.The cross is the length to which God will go to save us from ourselves.
That’s why we love the Christian calendar, especially during Holy Week, because it provides a sort of pilgrimage, encouraging us to live into the passion of Jesus by joining Him as He sets His facelike a flint toward Jerusalem.
This year, take this journey with your students. Remember, what students ultimately come to believe is shaped more by daily practices (liturgies) and less by mere information, making spiritual formation a holistic experience that isn’t simply about what students know, but about what they come to love and believe through actions and habits.
Here are five formative practices to experience this weekend with your students that will capture their imaginations, shape their desires, and encourage them to participate in the fullness of the Easter narrative:
- Maundy Thursday: A service commemorating the Last Supper of Christ through a foot-washing ceremony.
- Prayer Vigil: Remembering Jesus’ command to His disciples to “watch with Me for one hour,” spend time late Thursday night in prayer with your teen.
- Good Friday: This solemn worship service prepares our hearts for Easter by remembering Jesus’ torture and crucifixion.
- The Stations of the Cross: Many churches re-live the major events of Jesus’ death by walking through a live reenactment of the 14 scenes in the crucifixion story.
- Scripture Readings: Bring your family together to read aloud these lectionary scriptures and meditate on Christ’s passion: Thursday’s reading, Friday’s reading, Saturday’s reading, Sunday’s reading.
This article was taken from Axis’ Culture Insider: