It is Good Friday, 2011. Last night at our church we gathered to celebrate Christian Holy Week with a service focused on the solemn night on which Jesus ate the passover supper with his disciples and then was "betrayed into the hands of sinners." Our passage from Matthew speaks of Jesus being "sorrowful unto death" and "falling on his face, he began to pray saying, 'My Father, let this cup pass from me if it is possible, but not my will but thy will be done.'"
Our choir sang: "He Never Said a Mumbalin Word." It is a very beautiful and haunting spiritual. And, they sang it just right.
Before I went to worship, I had been in court most of the day. And, I had made a bad miscalculation on a case that was heard in the afternoon. I generally don't make these kind of mistakes in cases. But, as I get older, I seem to be getting less patient. Often in law, it serves you well to make a decision about the clearest path the victory and forget all other paths and issues. But, there are also a number of cases in which you do better to be patient and take what the hearing gives you. I usually can tell the one type of case from the other.
We don't always get wiser when we get older. I am starting to feel like most of us get better in some areas of life and worse in others so that we keep about the same balance between our good and bad characteristics that we had earlier in life. In some areas of life we really do learn some things, and in other areas of life unfortunately we forget the good things we knew when we were younger. Life takes some good things away from us and gives us some good things as well.
When life is really developing in a good way, the balance between the good and the bad begins to tip way over in favor of the good, way more than in the past in a permanent kind of way. When life is developing in a bad way, the balance between the good and the bad begins to tip way over in favor of the bad, way more than in the past in a permanent kind of way.
I am thinking very seriously about this as I think about my life on this Good Friday. There are some important things I have learned about living that I don't think I will ever forget. But, there were some very important things I carried within my heart in earlier life that seem like a hazy memory at this point. Life has a way of beating some of our youthful enthusiasm out of us. Life has a way of teaching us to be more cautious, less quick to trust and identify with others, less likely to take risks for others.
These are some things I am thinking about as I think about the One who risked everything for others.