Friday, April 10, 2009
Our old testament reading today was from Genesis, Abraham taking Isaac to sacrifice him. Much like Jesus, Isaac carries the wood for the sacrifice up to the altar, much like Jesus, he is a willing victim. Isaac could have easily stopped his elderly father from strapping him to the altar, but he was obedient, even unto death. Abraham's declaration that God would provide himself the ram is a reminder that only God took on the responsibility for the old covenant (only God walked the bloody path of the covenant cutting, Abraham did not) and a foreshadowing of what was to come much, much later in history.
Our morning gospel reading was from John, with Jesus before Pilate. He tells Pilate:
For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.
The entire purpose of the Incarnation is the crucifixion and resurrection. That day, that moment was the reason Jesus was born. It is humbling. It makes me want to serve Him better. The person of the Son was directed toward this end from before the foundations of the world.
One of our prayers said this morning:
Almighty God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross;
He was content to be betrayed, given to wicked men and suffer for us. That is how great the love of God is for His creation; He was willing to make His Son into the once for all sacrifice for sin.
Tonight, our church family will be walking the Via Dolorosa with Jesus in the Stations of the Cross. The weather is drab and grey, after a sunny day yesterday, which is appropriate. I bid you all a blessed Triduum.
I wish to leave you with another prayer and one of my favorite hymns for Holy Week.
O Merciful God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, nor desirest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; Have mercy upon all who know thee not as thou art revealed in the Gospel of thy Son. Take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart and contempt of thy Word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy fold, that they may be made one flock under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
O Sacred Head, Now Wounded
O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown.
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.
What thou, my Lord, hast suffered was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ‘Tis I deserve thy place:
Look on me with thy favor, and grant to me thy grace.
What language shall I borrow to thank thee, dearest friend,
For this thy dying sorrow, thy pity without end?
O make me thine forever; and should I fainting be,
Lord let me never, never outlive my love to thee.