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Lenten meditations: Good Friday, April 18

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As we enter the final days of Lent, Christians throughout Columbia will be sharing their own beautifully written ‘letters from the heart.’ Each is accompanied by corresponding relevant scripture verse(s), and linked to sources for further study. If you would like to join Columbia’s Lenten journey in 2015, please submit your ‘letter from the heart’ by email. Especially meaningful submissions will be printed. Let us complete our journey of repentance, meditation, and anticipation through the final days, to its joyous resurrection on Easter Sunday.

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Today’s scripture reading is from the Gospel of John 18:1 and 19:42.

The Passion of the Christ covers the final twelve hours of Jesus’ life beginning with the agony in the garden. It is the story of a man. That is not to say it is not the story of God as well, but it is to me, above all, the story of a single man’s act of incredible love.

There have been times in every life where the dread of an upcoming event paralyzes. Dread keeps us up at night, it turns our stomachs, and it grays our hair. For many, it causes us to seek every avenue to avoid the dreaded event, either actually or emotionally, refusing to face the inevitability of the circumstances. Moments we dread most are those created by our own mistakes or omissions, when we are called to face the music for a self-inflicted wound.

Whenever I read the story of Jesus’ hours of dread and sacrifice I am reminded of three things. First, I try to recall the gut-wrenching moments in my life when I would have done anything, paid any price, not to have to confront the circumstances that faced me. Then I try to recognize just how insignificant the things I have had to face in my life are in comparison to the ordeal, the pain, the mockery and ultimately the final price that Jesus faced in the hours before He died. This helps me to understand that His sense of dread had to be orders of magnitude greater that any I have known.

Finally I realize that it was not the mistake or omissions of Jesus that put Him in this position. In fact, it was me. I wonder what it would take for me to bear knowingly such a situation, amplified many times over anything I have ever felt, all because of the neglect and selfishness of others, and to save those responsible.
Then, I know better than any day of the year the incredible love one man had for me, for us all.

Joel Smith

Columbia, South Carolina

Follow Sharon on Twitter or Facebook.

If you enjoyed this Lenten meditation, you can find more at Sharon's Columbia Biblical Studies Examiner homepage.

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