Recuperation day for me. After the whirlwind of guests, pageant and painting, I'm EXHAUSTED. One final push and then I can get back to normal. I need to make a meal for my friend Joy and her family tonight in celebration of her baby girl Mary Joy. Isn't that a sweet name for a little girl?
We had the final presentation of the Easter Pageant on Sunday morning. I didn't go with the kids on the Palm Branches Parade because Keva does not enjoy walking for any length of time. So she joined me in my Sunday School class instead, and then I went to pick up the little boys to see the pageant.
At first, I wasn't going to take the three (Keva, Kade and Konner) because I thought they'd be bored, having watched it already on Friday night. But both boys begged me to take them again. They really like the big bad Roman soldiers! It isn't the greatest reason to watch the Easter story, but it will do for now!
This time, we sat right behind the orchestra. Konner was fascinated with the cello. Kade pointed to the violin section, "Look at those things (he meant the violin bows) -- they're all going up and down at the same time!" And I tried not to cry as the kids came running down the aisle. I kept telling myself, "You know what's going to happen. Please don't start blubbering again," but, of course, I did!
The poor guy, Chris, who played Jesus had a terrible time this last time, though, because his crown of thorns kept falling down onto his eyes and then finally nearly around his neck. He was trying to secretly scoot it back up, but he couldn't very well position his own crown of thorns back on his head and the Roman soldiers behind him couldn't see what was happening. They were the only ones who could have done anything about it and still stayed in character. Mary, Mary Magdalene and John couldn't exactly put the crown of thorns back into place either!
Chris played Jesus last year for the first time. And this year, again, even with the crown of thorns mishap, did such a great job. His wife played the woman who was healed when touching Jesus' hem of his garment. Their daughter was one of the kids who came running down the aisle yelling "Jesus is coming!" It was so sweet to see this precious family playing these precious roles, but it really got me to thinking about Jesus Himself.
Jesus Himself. Who sacrificed EVERYTHING for us. He could have married, had his own children -- but even that he denied Himself -- all for the sake of the cross -- and all for the sake of us.
One of the most impactful moments of the whole crucifixion story for me is when Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. He has asked his closest disciples -- Peter, James and John -- to pray for Him because He is sorrowful even unto death. As He prays, He begs the Father to let the cup pass from Him.
I believe this is the most critical part of the whole deal. Here Jesus at last gathers His strength. He comes to the point of no return. And I don't think it has anything to do with being afraid of the pain and death of a horrible execution. I don't think He worries about the people who will revile Him. I don't think He's afraid to stand before Roman rule. He's not afraid of being left alone by His disciples.
He simply does not want to be separated from God the Father. He does not want the horror of the whole sin of the world upon His shoulders that will rip Him away from all that is holy. "He who knew no sin became sin for us."
Still He was obedient.
He took the cup, "Not My will, but Yours."
All of His actions glowed with obedience -- through chains, rotten courts, cowardly rulers, angry mobs, bloody beating, carrying the cross, thorns thrust into His head, nails pounded through his hands and feet, and horribly pain. He did not complain.
Only once do we hear the words shortly before His death, "My God, My God! Why have You forsaken Me!"
His ONLY words of complaint. When God the Father deserts Him.
And then, those wonderful words, "It is finished."
Thank You, Lord, for saving me from my sins. Thank You for Your faithfulness in going to the cross. Now the grave stands empty, and you sit at the right hand of God the Father, the Lamb that was slain. Thank You.