The very word sends shivers down my spine. I must admit, I am a hopeless romantic. What teenage girl isn't? This Friday, as I was making a large batch of chocolate chip cookies, my thoughts began drift to and fro among the dreams and hopes I have built for myself when it comes to this thing called love. Oh, my dreams aren't grand or fancy - they certainly aren't ambitious or unrealistic! But, because of the way God designed men and women to love each other and work together in relationships that uplift His purposes on earth, those dreams of someday being a part of such a relationship myself are certainly alive and well in my heart.
And yet, I paused to think about what this day, this Good Friday, recognized. Where is the romance in scourging and beating? Where are the girlish dreams to be found in a crown, not one of silver and diamonds, but of thorns? And what beauty, what cherished hopes are seen in a man, bleeding and dying on a cross? My fanciful thoughts of love came plummeting down into the world of reality once more. Not for long though - for I once again remembered that this day does not serve to simply recognize death and the devestation caused by it.
No - on Good Friday, we pause to remember the "why," not only the "what." Why would God Himself choose this path? To endure scorn, shame, and pain beyond comprehension? To humble Himself to our level, spend 3 years on earth showing us the perfect example of how we ought to live, then give himself up to death on a cross? Why?
"Greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends." This tale, with all it's gore and bloodshed, is truly the greatest romance ever written. The Lover sacrifices His very life for His Beloved. He does this, not out of a false sense of infatuation, or because a melodramatic playwrite had to have his moment in the spotlight. He does this to bring life. For through His death, we find that which was previously unattainable - eternal life!
Our story unfolds like many typical romances. However, soon the differences become apparent - the Prince came riding in, but not on a white stallion. He shares a meal with those dearest to Him, and the great love He bears for them is evident. But then ,the plot twist - our hero is given over to His enemies? Surely not! Gasp! Our hearts cringe as He is beat, again and again. Our tears flow as He walks the path to the cross. We hide our faces as He the nails are pounded in, and threaten to resign our role in this elaborate story as He is laid in the tomb. But, as with any romance, we find that a happy ending is right around the corner. For come Sunday morn, the tomb is empty and our hero has conquered death once and for all! He has provided us, His Beloved, with salvation from our dire situation, and the promise of a happily ever after, the Prince of Peace by our side.
May your heart be filled with hopes and dreams this blessed Easter as you remember this story of romance Our Father has set before us!