3/28/97



I recognize this place...

Surrounded by fears and problems and confusion and loud noises and scary clowns and my disturbingly clear reflection in His mirror...I recognize this little-boy-lost heart again, and see the Goliaths with their loud and intimidating threats...and sadly, I also see the hammer in my hand this Good Friday...

My foes are probably more because of my folly than my righteousness, more for weakness than for strength...too big to be sailed through; too small to be the persecuted's glory...

They assault my body, my bread, my mission, my march, my heart, my smile, my wholeness--I am fragmented and shadowy and flayed...

But I recognize this place, this carpet up to the coffin, for He has let me stand here often...I have felt this fear, and seen the swirling winds and winced at the thunder and looked at the waves and cried out before...and I have seen His watchful, but hopeful face watch me there--prepared to catch me if I stumble, prepared to whisper to the lion, prepared to snatch me up and whisk me away...

This day, of course, is the Dark Day--the Day of Innocent-turned-guilty Blood Spilt--but soon comes a Dawn, a Dawn of Blood Accepted...

When I was a younger Christian, and studying soteriology (i.e. the doctrine of salvation), I was so enthralled with those exalted aspects called glorification, adoption, election, sanctification, justification...now, the older I get, the more amazed I am at the more 'simple' doctrine of "forgiveness of sins"... I think often of Lewis Sperry Chafer's textbook definition of propitiation--"the perfect satisfaction of the just demands of outraged holiness"...who can contemplate that "outraged holiness" without their heart quailing before the power and authority of God?!...and who can contemplate that "perfect satisfaction" without breathing an existence-deep sigh of relief?!...

And I sit here at home this Friday night, with a heart that can barely see the Sunday through that other Friday; that can barely see the freedom of day through these temporary cell bars; that can barely hear His soothing and majestic music through the din and clatter of the parade outside (which is celebrating, in its arrogant imagination, my impending fall and hunger and despair)...

There are many like me tonight, but that have trouble EVERY DAY seeing that life and music and sunrise, and only see the shackles and leg irons and guilt and chronic-fear, and who know not hope...who know not the gentle and good Shepherd.

I, of course, will get through this, for the Lord is my teacher and lover and leader...He gently speaks to me in patient instruction, He firmly and joyously leads me in this dance of love, He relentlessly pursues the Father's Goal and cuts the path through this jungle for me who timidly follows...

At this time last year, I was living in Ohio, and I volunteered to help with Children's Church on Easter Weekend...I was assigned a role in an Easter Play for elementary school children. The play had a few different acts corresponding to Gethesemane, Golgotha, and the Grave Site.

I don't remember much of the play, but the Gethsemane part focused on events in heaven--not in the garden...

The scene so overcame me with emotion and worship and wonder--I could barely say my lines in the next act...

The heavenly scene consisted on a band of powerful and glorious angels, observing the events on earth. They saw the web of treachery encircling the Son of God, they saw His agony in the garden, they saw the approaching hostile soldiers and rulers. And in the play, they keep asking God the Father--on His throne of Glory-- if it was time now to rescue the precious Son from the forces of irrational and jealous malice. Each time they asked God the Father if it was NOW time to invade earth and defeat the forces of evil, He would quietly whisper 'not yet' with tears in His eyes. As Judas and the religious forces got closer, and as Jesus' tears became blood, the angels grew yet more anxious and interrupted the watchful Father more often. And still He would say, with tears in His eyes and with trembling but purposeful voice, "not yet"...They could not understand, they could not comprehend the thoughts and love that would later become Philippians 2:6-8...

And so the angels--shocked speechless before the Father--watched the Prince of Life and Peace be humiliated and executed at the Cross by His very inheritance Israel and by the world He came to save...

I don't remember much more about the play, other than that the angels did get to proclaim the resurrection and victory of the Son at the Grave Site, and I know theologically that they finally understood (somehow) the master stroke of genius and grace achieved at the Cross (cf. Eph 2.10-15 with 3.10)...but the dynamics of what must have been experienced within the very community of Persons we know as the Triune God staggered me so...how great was the love, and how great must have been our need--to require such an experience and action!

Such is the eternal basis for our hope and the guarantee of our acceptance by Him...grounded in the very relationships of love and commitment within that complex unity/community of Persons we call "God"...

I endure Gethsemane's but not Golgotha's...His pain and purpose included both...and in seeing His Empty Grave, I see my future...

This coming week will see my personal assailants take shape and depth and solidity and texture and breath...they will become conversations and invoices and appointments and criticisms...and I will lay them out before the Lord--as Hezekiah did--and I will trust the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob...He has never forsaken those who walk with confidence in His commitment, in awe of His power, and in love with His Son!...

I hope this Resurrection weekend finds you growing in your awareness of His quiet and pervasive power in your life; growing in your comprehension of His unbounded delight in you, and growing in your surprise over the warmth and persistence and solidity of His grace given you in Jesus Christ...

May this weekend challenge your thinking and deepen your wonder at the Cross--like never before...

Glenn Miller, 3/28/97


The Christian ThinkTank...[http://www.christian-thinktank.com] (Reference Abbreviations)