I started this post on Ash Wednesday. I'd just been to service with my two sons and after we returned home, marked with our sin and repentance, I really had something to say.
Don't ask me what it was now; it's Easter Sunday and Ash Wednesday was a long time ago. I'm sure it was profound though. All lost thoughts seem to be tinged with profundity. Profundity is probably a shade of chartreuse. Provided that's the green one. I always get chartreuse and vermillion confused.
All that stuck with me was this line from Jesus, I Will Ponder Now - "may I give you love for love."
I find that Holy Week is often a time of pondering for me. I try to take time to meditate specifically on the Passion on Good Friday. I like cold parks and solitude. I didn't find it this year. Solitude is a rarity for me at the moment. The pondering found me and once again I tried to really understand the depth, the width, the height of the sacrifice that God made in sending Jesus to die the most horrendous death, abandoned, alone, covered in the filth and stench of eons of sin. I still can't comprehend it. I can imagine the happenings, I know them so well and not enough. I can picture faces and expressions, but they are stapled together fragments from paintings and pictures I've seen across the years. I still feel anger toward Peter, forsaking his Saviour. I revile Judas even as I pity him. I weep with the Marys at the foot of the cross.
It's a strange thing, though, coming at this from a hindsight perspective. I know what happens next. The despair and confusion that all of Jesus' followers were plunged into, that I cannot fathom. It's as far removed from me as petticoats. It's something that happened, but I know now so well that that then just doesn't compute fully. I understand that it happened, but the overwhelming joy and hope that has come from Jesus' resurrection on Easter has so pervaded my thinking, my being that I just can't fully understand Holy Week.
I get caught up in the daily humdrum. It's full of trials and difficulties, sure. But that's not the same thing.
And even now, living as I do, a life where I know that my Redeemer lives and because He lives I too shall live, I still struggle and fight and wrestle with my own ridiculousness. My own selfishness. My own sin. I try to take on my struggles by myself. I fall flat a lot.
I do not give love for love. I give struggle and frustration and all sorts and get back love. I fail and fight and flee and I am given love. I try to love and get distracted and still I am given love. The struggle of sanctification can be boiled down to trying to give love for love. It is the eternal pursuit.
And still I am made free by the blood of the Lamb, shed for me.
This makes no sense, I realise that. I guess when it comes down to it, all I'm trying to say is: "Blessed Easter". So,
Jesus, I Will Ponder Now - Sigismund von Birken
Jesus, I will ponder now
On your holy Passion;
With your Spirit me endow
For such meditation.
Grant that I in love and faith
May the image cherish
Of your suffering, pain, and death
That I may not perish.
Make me see your great distress,
Anguish, and affliction,
Bonds and stripes and wretchedness
And your crucifixion;
Make me see how scourge and rod,
Spear and nails did wound you,
How you died for those, O God,
Who with thorns had crowned you.
Yet, O Lord, not thus alone
Make me see your Passion;
But its cause to me make known
And its termination.
For I also and my sin
Brought your deep affliction;
This the shameful cause has been
Of your crucifixion.
If my sins give me alarm
And my conscience grieve me,
Let your cross my fear disarm,
Peace and pardon give me.
Grant that I may trust in you
And your holy Passion;
If his Son forgives anew,
God must have compassion.
Jesus, Lord, my heart renew,
Let me bear my crosses,
Learning humbleness from you,
Peace despite my losses.
May I give you love for love!
Hear me, O my Savior,
That I may in heaven above
Sing your praise forever.