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Tetelestai

April 10, 2020

“It is finished.” John 19:30

Today is Good Friday. Like everything else, it will be different than in years past. At Grace we usually mark this day with three services of Adoration of the Cross. Traditions abound, from hearing St. John’s Passion sung to little children tying ribbons around the cross. Not today. I feel finished. My sense of loss, of grief, has grown throughout the week.

Headlines this morning told me that the U.S. is reaching its peak death rate in the pandemic. We’re speaking of death in the same way we buy our groceries. In bulk.

Jesus hangs on his cross. Bruised, battered, dying. He speaks the seventh of the last words: It is finished. Consummatum est. Tetelestai.

It’s over. It sure feels that way. Death, invisible, stalks us. Shrinks our lives to the same few square feet, for those of us lucky enough have a place of our own. Keeps us apart, yearning for each other. My God, my God, why have you forsaken us?

But is Jesus finished. Or is Jesus finished?

As we adore Jesus on his cross today, we marvel that God will use this senseless tragedy to make sense of the universe, this mockery of justice to unleash justice’s mightily flowing waters. To bring life.

This day of Jesus’ dying is the beginning of life. Jesus is finished. Finished with his work. Finished with our sin and death, powerless no more. Finished with evil, put to rout. It is done.

The cross, starkly standing, is the shoot lifting us heavenward from the stump of Jesse. They tried to cut him back, but you can’t keep a God-man down. Life flows from the cross, like blood from Jesus’ side. Blood that gives life.

In a little while, I’m going to video chat with a young friend of mine. He’s having his T-cells reinfused today, trained now through CAR T therapy to attack the cancer that’s returned to his body. We will pray together, believing that the Father who gave us his Son will restore health to this body.  We trust that in the blood of Jesus’, this young man’s blood will be healthy again.

Good Friday, after all, isn’t about death. It’s about Jesus who died, yes, so that we would live. Abundantly on earth. Forever in the Kingdom. He has finished his work.

Today, our work is to adore him. Our work is to pray for those in need. I invite you to join me.

The world thought is was finished with Jesus. Turns out he was just getting started.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

“Lord Jesus, you carried our sins in your own body on the tree so that we might have life. May we and all who remember this day find new life in you now and in the world to come, where you live and reign with the Father and the Holy  Spirit, now and forever. Amen.” (Lutheran Book of Worship, p. 20)

The image is the lower panel of the Wittenberg Altarpiece by Lucas Cranach the Elder, dedicated in St. Mary’s in 1547 (public domain).

 

From → COVID-19, Lent/Easter

One Comment
  1. William Shoup permalink

    Have a Blessed Easter with your wonderful family!

    Bill Shoup

    Tel: 843.237.3583

    Cell: 843.833.3578

    wshoup@sc.rr.om

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