During the run up to Easter I find myself feeling adrift. I haven’t been well enough (as usual) this year to attend any church services, spend special time with family or friends, nor to engage with all the usual paraphernalia such as buying cards, eggs, flowers, and celebration food.
Even my good intentions over Lent have fallen foul of my frailty.
No observance fully kept, no meditation continued, no readings completed.
I have failed in every way to observe Easter.
Or have I?
Is it about the special services, the trappings around the edges, or something else?
As I read the biblical accounts of the crucifixion recently, I came to three words that stopped me in my tracks:
In order to address the perceived physical need – unsurprising with outstretched limbs impaled to a cross in the heat of the day – He is offered a sponge soaked in sour wine (vinegar) to sip from. What seems like a generous gesture is both inadequate and insulting.
With thirst left unquenched, the Son of God is made to partake more of humanity’s bitterness and gall as He hangs dying on the cross, poured out like a drink offering for our sake.
This act is preceded by Jesus calling out, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani?” which is translated as “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34 – 36)
Which suggests Jesus had not only an understandable physical thirst, but also an emotional and relational one. For the first time ever, as He took upon Himself the sin of the whole world, His holy, righteous Father could not look upon or be in fellowship with Him.
Their intimate, loving union and communion was broken. And I think that must have broken Jesus’ heart. I believe He thirsted, even in that relatively short time, for all that He had known before.
Instead of the personal intimacy of ‘Abba, Father’, Jesus now addresses His Father as ‘God’, indicating the temporary loss of what He had always experienced – unending closeness and intimacy.
In taking on humanity’s sin, Jesus endured that painful separation so that we could become reconciled to God and able to be in relationship with Him as our loving heavenly Father.
These days, the thing I tend to thirst for most is greater health and strength.
All of the things mentioned above are fleeting and subject to change.
The fundamentals of life we require above all – Acceptance, Love, Security and Safety – are, however, fully met in relationship with God.
I think of Jesus coming out of the river Jordan after He has been baptised by John, and continue to link Him inextricably with a river of life, hope and faith, that runs through us now by His Spirit.
We see Him offering Living Water to the Samaritan woman in John 4:1 – 26 (you can read the full account by clicking on the link).
At the start of their conversation, Jesus requests a drink from her as she is at the well drawing water. Do we ever stop to think how Jesus, our Living Water, may thirst now?
Perhaps He is thirsting for:
This Easter, as we ponder the deep meaning of the cross, empty tomb and Resurrection Morn, maybe enjoying church and family celebrations, let us take a moment to consider what ways Jesus may be desiring us to be in relationship with Him.
Even if we know Him now.
Even if we follow Him.
Even as we read His word.
Even as we fellowship together.
We have no difficulty seeing our need of the things you offer us;
Your mercy, grace and forgiveness are what we long for
and our souls require daily watering by Your word and Spirit.
For in our busyness we can fail to spend time in Your Presence.
Points to ponder:
What does Easter symbolise for you?
Is there a way you can make it more meaningful and special?
I’d love you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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