Quite a Weekend

This holy weekend begins tonight. The story actually began yesterday with Jesus’s celebration of the Passover meal with his disciples. That meal brought us the elements of remembering we shared this evening.

That meal was followed by a trip to the garden and a wrestling match, his will vs. the father’s. The Father’s won by the way. Also present in that garden were sleepy disciples, angels, and somewhere close by Satan, depicted often in art as a serpent, vis a vie Genesis 3 and the bruising and crushing of heal and head. But that is another story. Somewhere in or near the garden were also a band of soldiers, priests and a betrayer, coming to remove Jesus and take him to the High Priest.

Fast forward many hours. Jesus has been to the High Priest, Pilate (twice), and Herod. Numerous laws, both Jewish and Roman were bypassed. Peter made his famous threefold denial and the rooster has called forth the dawn. Jesus, with the assistance of a man plucked from the bystanders, has carried the cross from the temple/palace area to a hill called Golgotha. Upon that cross Jesus was nailed, with two fellow prisoners beside him. Jesus uttered his seven last “words,” phrases really. “I thirst.” “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.” “It is finished.” “John, behold your Mother, behold you Son.” “Into your hands I commend my spirit.” “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”

At the heart of this story, this grand drama, are three nails and one cross. Those three elements help carry this story. Jesus could have died a dozen ways. The spear could have/would have killed him, but was too late. Broken legs could have hastened his demise but were unnecessary. He had already given up his spirit. Jesus foretold this event, and added, “No one takes my life from me, I lay it down myself.” Even in death he maintained control. He was and is the Lord of life, the Lord of death.

This night 2000 years ago, plus or minus, a cross and three nails made all the difference. The weight of a world of sin was removed, taken as far away as possible, east from west, infinity. Man’s guilt, our guilt, my guilt is lifted. More on this Sunday morning.

Three nails and a cross. George Strait sings a song with this title.

He was sitting on the front porch of a half-way house
Chainin' cigarettes and drinkin' coffee
I was walkin' by on my way home
Stopped and said, hello, how are ya
He looked at me and said, I've seen better days
I looked at him and said, there's a better way

Three nails and a cross equal forgiveness
Just like you, I was lost
And that's hell to have to live with
I've sat on that front porch where you're sittin' now
I kept lookin' deep inside 'til I figured out
Three nails and a cross equal forgiveness.

She was sittin' on her bed crying crocodiles
Sixteen ain't a good age to be pregnant And she thinks mom and dad won't love her anymore
Like the boy who swore he always would but doesn't
She turns and sees that Bible laying by her bed
And she crumbles to her knees as she bows her head

Three nails and a cross equal forgiveness
Lord help me cause I'm lost And that's hell to have to live with
I need You more than ever now, without a doubt
I've made a big mistake, can You help me out
Three nails and a cross equal forgiveness
Three nails and a cross equal forgiveness

I love that equation. Three nails plus a cross equals forgiveness. While we remember the cross tonight, while we reflect on the death and suffering of our Lord, we are celebrating forgiveness. That was a bloody, hate filled night. Yet, love overcame the hate, and flowed in the blood to bring forgiveness. “I was lost. . . . Lord, help me cause I’m lost.” Those were the word George sang, “lost and that’s hell to have to live with.” Because of three nails and a cross, because of love, and blood, we don’t have to live with it. We are no longer lost.

Link to the song.