Now that we’re into the holiest week of the Christian calendar, we’re surrounded by the popular images of the season, coloured eggs, bunnies and chicks, but the events of that first Easter week were anything but pretty and pastel.
On Sunday, our pastor used Maker of the Universe by master guitarist, Phil Keaggy, as part of his morning message. Do take a moment to click on the link and watch the video. I can’t get its haunting message out of my mind.
His holy fingers made the bough,
Which grew the thorns that crowned His brow.
Not only did God create the thorn bush with its razor-sharp barbs, but He made and even yearned for a relationship with the soldier who thought to shape it into a cruel crown and ram it onto the head of our Lord.
The nails that pierced His hands were mined
In secret places He designed.
On the third day of creation, God created the land and the metals hidden within knowing all the good and evil ways that man would put them to use; knowing that someday His body would be pierced with spikes formed from those very metals.
He made the forest whence there sprung
The tree on which His body hung.
He didn’t have to do it! He didn’t have to let them nail Him to the cross. He could have walked away, just like He did three years earlier when an angry crowd in his hometown of Nazareth threatened to throw him off a cliff. (Luke 4:16-30)
This time He didn’t walk away. He let them crown Him with a crown of thorns and hammer nails through His wrists and His feet and He did it for me! He did it to take the punishment that should have been mine. He knew that I would let Him down, but He did it anyway. He let them lay His body in a cold, dark tomb, and there He lay for three long days. Thankfully, though, that wasn’t the end of the story. As the old hymn says
Up from the grave he arose;
with a mighty triumph o’er his foes;
he arose a victor from the dark domain,
and he lives forever, with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
And that is the wonder of Easter! Hallelujah!