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  • REMBRANDT AND GOOD FRIDAY

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Theology

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    As you read this, I hope you might take a few minutes this Good Friday to read and chew on the words below.  Place yourself at the sites of each biblical scene, and try to picture yourself there.  Here is a piece of music that I hope you turn on in the background as you do this, give it a shot and really get into the God’s story of redemption.  Be blessed my friends through the work of Edvard Grieg, Rembrandt, and most importantly Jesus, our crucified Lord.

     

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    Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
    yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
    But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
    upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
    All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
    and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.
    Isaiah 53:4-6

    “Raising the Cross” Rembrandt

     

    For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin,
    so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
    II Corinthians 5:21

    “The Descent from the Cross” Rembrandt

    By means for our first [parents] (Adam and Eve), we were all brought into bondage, by being made subject to death.  So at last, by means of the New Man, all who from the beginning were His disciples, having cleansed and washed from things pertaining to death, can come to the life of God.
    -Irenaeus of Lyons

    “The Entombment of Christ” by Rembrandt

     

    Jesus was nailed to a rugged piece of wood, naked.  He was beaten, had his beard torn off and was deserted by his followers.  Jesus was placed as a common criminal, a person on the side of the road strategically placed to show the strength of Rome.  The same person who created the world and fashioned the cosmos was now held to a tree.  He was looked upon as a subject of scorn, an object of derision.  He was placed there for the world.  And quite frankly, I was a cause of His pain.

    God, the source of beauty, was destroyed and disfigured beyond all recognition for the sake of humanity.

    So, come to Jesus, come to the cross where new life is found.  Now is the day of salvation. [1]

     

  • REMBRANDT AND THE CROSS

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Lent

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    Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
    yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
    But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
    upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
    All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
    and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

    Isaiah 53:4-6

    “Raising the Cross” Rembrandt

    For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin,

    so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

    II Corinthians 5:21

    “The Descent from the Cross” Rembrandt

    By means for our first [parents] (Adam and Eve), we were all brought into bondage, by being made subject to death.  So at last, by means of the New Man, all who from the beginning were His disciples, having cleansed and washed from things pertaining to death, can come to the life of God.

    -Irenaeus of Lyons

    “The Entombment of Christ” by Rembrandt

    Jesus was nailed to a rugged piece of wood, naked.  He was beaten, had his beard torn off and was deserted by his followers.  Jesus was placed as a common criminal, a person on the side of the road strategically placed to show the strength of Rome.  The same person who created the world and fashioned the cosmos was now held to a tree.  He was looked upon as a subject of scorn, an object of derision.  He was placed there for the world.  And quite frankly, I was a cause of His pain.

    God, the source of beauty, was destroyed and disfigured beyond all recognition for the sake of humanity.

    So, come to Jesus, come to the cross where new life is found.  Now is the day of salvation. [1]

  • O SACRED HEAD, NOW WOUNDED

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Hymn

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    O Sacred Head, Now Wounded
    Bernard of Clairvaux

    O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
    Now scornfully surrounded with thorns Your only crown,
    O sacred Head, no glory now from Your face does shine;
    Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call You mine.

    Men mock and taunt and jeer You. They smite Your countenance.
    Though mighty worlds shall fear You, and flee before Your glance.
    How pale You are with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
    Your eyes with pain now languish that once were bright as morn!

    My burden in Your passion, Lord, You have borne for me,
    For it was my transgression, my shame, on Calvary.

    I cast me down before you; wrath is my rightful lot.
    Have mercy, I implore You; Redeemer, spurn me not!

    What language shall I borrow to thank You, dearest Friend,

    For this, Your dying sorrow, Your pity without end?
    Oh, make me Yours forever, and keep me strong and true;
    Lord, let me never, never outlive my love for You.

  • GOOD FRIDAY

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Liturgy

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    Why is today Good Friday?

    I try to answer this question with a series of quote that capture the tragic beauty of death by crucifixion.

    “Consider the price of this ransom, look carefully at this captive. He is the Son of God who is greater than all creation. How will you respond when you hear that such a priceless ransom was paid for your sins? Will you still want to offer your works done under the Law? What is the works of all men, the suffering of the martyrs, and the obedience of the holy angels compared with what the Son of God has given in His death, even death on a cross?”

    – Martin Luther

    “The Son of God was crucified; I am not ashamed because men must be ashamed of it. And the Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed because it is absurd. And he was buried, and rose again; the fact is certain because it is impossible.”

    – Tertullian

    Fr. Richard John Neuhaus wrote this in Death on a Friday Afternoon: Meditations on the Last Words of Jesus Christ:

    We…know how the story turns out, yet we neither rush to Easter nor, when we come to Easter, do we put Good Friday behind us as though it were a nightmare past. The risen Christ, and indeed Christ returning in glory to judge the living and the dead, is always the crucified Christ who bears the scars. It is finished but it is not over. The reality of salvation is definitively settled, but history continues to be cruciform, a way of the cross for pilgrims headed home. Salvation is “now” and “not yet”; it is a matter of certitude and a matter of seeing in a mirror dimly; it is a present possession and a hope to be worked out with fear and trembling.

    (H/T Kathryn Jean Lopez)

    Take a few moments today and contemplate the amazing event that the God-Man died. Today, Christians mark the day that this death offered restoration for humanity.