Easter.Good Friday. Resurrection Sunday.
This holiday has always had mixed emotions for me. Growing up in the church, I've heard the story a million times. I've celebrated 21 Easters, and to be honest, the story doesn't always push me to the "wow" point every year. It's something I've wondered about....whether I'm a bad person for not feeling anything in regards to Jesus dying for my sins, especially since my whole faith is based on his willingness to do so and how he then fulfilled the Scriptures by rising again. I've had Easters every now and then that God does move me, and I am always left feeling incredibly grateful for the experience. I realize too though, that how I think and believe can't be based on feelings. I know that Jesus did these things, and there's nothing that says I have to feel it too. But, being an emotional female, it's always nice to get a little something in the area of the heart.
This year, it was Good Friday that stuck out to me the most. I finally sucked up my queasiness at blood and gore and watched The Passion of the Christ for the first time. You might be surprised that I've waited until now. Well, my excuse was I even feel sick when reading about the account in the Bible. Seeing it vividly on screen was not ideal. I confess I had to turn away a couple times and let out a gasp or two when I turned my eyes back and was shocked by the gore I saw before me. But that movie really did put things into perspective. I had a lot of tears....mostly when there were flashbacks. Watching Jesus as a young man kidding around with his mother, seeing Mary Magdeline's tear-stained face as she took his hand, the loving way he preached on the hillside. To me, I saw those things nailed to that cross. The innocence was very prevalent because of those small insights. It really shook me that Jesus had grown up being one with God. He was never separate from him. God was in him as much as he was in himself. And in Jesus' moment of greatest need, when he was in the most pain he'd ever known--not just from the sharp nails and stinging wounds but from having to hold up his frail body with all the weighty sins of the world--that's when God separated himself from his own flesh and blood. I can't imagine how awful that would have been to be separated from God at that moment. I realized this weekend that Jesus would do it again in a heartbeat just for me if he needed to--even after he had experienced the pain and knew what it was like. That tore me apart. I had such an emotionally heavy weight all weekend. My only regret from the movie is that it didn't move forward to the resurrection. Yes, it did show him get up having the scars, but I was left at a bit of a loss, and had a difficult time grasping the freedom and joy after Good Friday.
I'm grateful I was able to view Christ's death in a new and meaningful way. And I'm thankful that I have heard the story so many times before to know that He rose again. He conquered the hardest thing to conquer--death. And He did it for me. Happy Easter!