It has been years and years since I’ve seen it, The Passion of the Christ, so on Good Friday I curled up on the couch and watched it again through the fibers of our fuzziest blanket. The Agony of it all filled my living room and I wept shamelessly, feeling like a small child watching her strong father take on the whole world to protect her from harm. That’s actually exactly what I was seeing. God himself- pushing back the darkness so that I would never have to live in its gruesome, unrelenting terror ever again.
Since watching it all again, so raw and brutal and graphic, His name has become precious to me. I run across it softly with my finger on the page. I wince in physical pain when I hear it spewed out like a cuss word at the grocery store. I scramble to show grace to others because the grace poured out on me feels so tangibly real- like the shock of a hot shower after hours in the snow.
But how can I continue to live in the light of this?
I find the story over and over again in the most unlikely of places. I ask for eyes to see it all around me. I see it in the old testament story of Joseph- thrown into a pit by the brothers he came to help- stripped of his robe and mocked, spat upon, left to die. He was brought up from that pit and sold for silver. Eventually, he saved all of the people of Egypt and beyond from death by starvation. A foreshadowing of our rescue!
I find the story in the love of a dear mother who continues to fight for her daughter’s rights and dignity and cure even after her young life has ended on this earth- to help others like her who will follow after. A mother who continues to pour out comfort and support upon other families in pain even when her own grief is so gripping… so awesomely staggering in length and depth and width.
All around me the story permeates. The beauty of the earth is screaming it. The deep eyes of my children- the miracle of their very existence- speak of a power that holds everything together.
Oh, how I need eyes to see it everyday. The Gospel. The Gospel while I cook. The Gospel while I clean. The Gospel in my marriage- grace & forgiveness extended, because… grace & forgiveness received! Not received from Chris, but from Christ! I am realizing that there is no other way to live. Or, perhaps better said: no other way worth living. There are LOTS of other ways to live out there. I can keep living for second-hand pleasures or whatever makes me “feel good”. Whatever I think I “deserve”. I can live for status or wealth or ever-evasive beauty. I can live for fitness or the environment or knowledge, but the surpassing worth of knowing the love of Christ causes all of those things to seem like a paper plate of stale saltines set next to a lavish banquet table ready to collapse under the weight of its feast, every single time.
Pass me a turkey leg. I’m pulling up to the table, right where I’ve been invited to be, through the awesome work of Christ who bled for me. God, by your grace, may I never excuse myself again for the stale crumbs this world has to offer in Your place. May I never become dull to your sacrifice, may I always live with eyes to see your breathtaking story in the unlikely places.