Saturday, November 15, 2014

Crucify him! (or, Party on!)

Shortly before Jesus was murdered he spoke the following words to his disciples,

"Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice, You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy."  (John 16:20 ESV)

Here he was speaking specifically of his death, but I think we can see this played out in today's cultural climate.  Many today are proclaiming the death of God and they rejoice.  They are declaring the death or Christian morals and they are jubilant.  They see Jesus hanging on the cross and they are glad (even if Jesus is a myth).  On the cross means he is dead, and better to let dead prophets and messiahs lie, especially the one called the Lion of Judah.   

We weep, no longer because he is hanging on the cross, for we have seem our resurrected Lord, but because the world is rejoicing at his death and they can't see why his being alive is such a good thing. The world finished demythologizing but not finished patting themselves on the back for their own cleverness and so they party on.  But we weep and they call us party crashers.  And who would have thought party crashing would eventually be ruled illegal (Let me remind you that it soon will be, just in case you haven't gotten the memo). 

But someday we will stop weeping and our own party will begin.  The echos of "Crucify him" will end with a crash and startled gasps - by all - and silence will fall like a curtain.  Rain will fall and wash away the red Solo cups and vomit and the sun will come out only it won't be the sun at all but the glory of the Father and the Lamb.  Then he will wipe away all of our tears.  Jesus comforted his disciples with as much when he wrote:

"So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy form you." (v. 22)

Many of us bought into a wrong idea of these events. Thanks to the Sunday school teachers who were filled with good, albeit misguided, intentions painting a picture of us sitting upon the groovy Jesus' lap and he wiping our tears away with his coat sleeve.   But the real picture is much, much better.  He will appear to us in all of his glory, perhaps like John saw him, on fire and burning brighter and whiter than anything we can imagine and our hearts will rejoice.  Not just because we see him but because he sees us.  He is looking at us and we aren't consumed by his wrath but welcomed with his love.  Tell me, what tear could survive that?

So, party on world.  Your days are numbered.  If you want to see what a real party looks like then take off your festal clothes and put on sackcloth and join us in our weeping.  Don't wait until the real party starts for then it will be much too late; the object of your rejoicing now becoming your undoing. 

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