It’s Friday, but Sunday is coming.

April 10, 2020

I found out that I am not essential. OUCH! Sometimes I like to imagine that the world revolves around me because I’m so important. But COVID19 says I can disappear for a little while and no one will notice because pap smears and prostate exams are more fun than dental visits. We are living in a time like nothing we have ever known. Calamities are nothing new. COVID HAS forced everyone who has access to info to be focused on the spread of disease, confirmed cases, death rates rising, social distancing, hydroxychloroquine, economy, politics, incubation, ventilators, symptoms, and self quarantine. No matter where you fall in believing everything that’s out there or nothing that’s out there, the truth is that this virus has gone viral. It impacts everyone and everything.

Back in early 2001, Paul and I flew to Washington to visit the grad school he was hoping to attend. Another couple went with us, people we are still friends with, and we took a day trip to Mount St. Helen’s National Park. It’s breathtaking to see evidence of volcanic destruction, and to see how passionately life has fought to overcome that destruction. Everywhere we looked, there was a wow. It was wow to see that the shape of a mountain was changed by a blast. It was wow to see pictures of millions of trees knocked down, lying like toothpicks. Wow to see a once barren landscape covered with new trees and plants and flowers. Wow to know that somehow, some animals lived and their descendants repopulate the mountain. Wow at God’s handiwork and creation. But a bigger wow was the 3 people sitting in the car with me. Mount St. Helen’s was made in the image of a mountain. But my car mates were made in the image of my God. WOW! And God loved the mountain enough to repair and regrow the mountain. How much more does He love my car mates and me?! WOW!

We are all God’s image-bearers. But His image-bearers are dying, and we are at the point where what healthy people do makes life and death differences for the rest of His image-bearers. How do we choose who is wasted during this calamity? Who do we sacrifice in triage? None!

This is a season of monumental pruning when God is cutting back on what is not essential, and I don’t mean dental hygienists. I mean let’s cut the crap out of our lives that pulls us away from God. False idols. Love of self. Worshipping our kids. Preoccupation with status. Burpees. Appearances. Facebook Likes. Having to be right. Believing everyone else is wrong. Always and never. Being too needy. Not needing anyone. Thigh gaps. Perfectionism. Having it all. Minimalism. Whatever it is, it’s not nearly as essential as we think it is. Is it?

But what is essential? Good Friday. Not just today, but the whole story from beginning to end. Alpha to Omega. Genesis to Revelation. It’s all one story, and today we live caught in between the mystery of how Christ dying on the cross can be good, and the assurance that it is very good, all the time.

Good Friday is as essential as Easter morning. Christ didn’t need to die except to show His love for me. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭ESV

It was the plan all along, the only way for me to be bought back from my bondage to sin. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans‬ ‭5:10-11‬ ‭ESV‬‬.

No need for the cross except that I now don’t have to die on it. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians‬ ‭2:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬.
So this is the season to be still because so much else is on hold. We need proms and graduations. Birthday parties and weddings. Reunions and get-togethers. Home runs and water balloon fights. Concerts and vacations. Celebrations will return, but for now, God is telling us what He says is essential. “Be still, and know that I am God,” Psalm 46:10.

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