Today is Good Friday. And why is it "Good?"
One may answer in many ways.
..."because it's payday,
..."because, --Whoo-hoo, it's Spring Break!"
..."because I just found some cute shoes on sale!"
In Christendom, "Good Friday" names the day Christ placed Himself on the Cross and our sins onto His shoulders. He hung his thorned-pressed brow and bled out. He pushed Himself up long enough to communicate His love to a thief next to Him and to give instructions to His Apostle John, and others. He released His last breath and lowered Himself when He knew God's Will was done. It's the day, two days out from THE DAY!
It is "Good" because we are not. It is "Good" because of His Great Love for us, ...it is "Good" because this Holy moment brings us back into a relationship with God and restores us into His purpose.
Yet some of us, like Peter did for a brief, weak moment, still follow Him at a distance. Now these moments have turned to years.
The lyrics of "The Old Rugged Cross" are revived one more time, although its a little harder to remember them; a dusty Bible is located, and a seat is found near the exit. Maybe you'll attend a sunrise service. You squint and a shiver in the morning breeze, thinking about the ham and what time it needs to go in the oven.
We get close again for an hour or so, just long enough to read and sing, but not infuse the red letters on the crispy pages, to wear the new shoes that are already forming a blister, to hear the story of the Resurrection but fail to see the empty tomb in our own heart chambers.
Knees are un-calloused; hands are smooth, kept in pockets and on devices. God calls from the splintered Tree of His own creation, seeing you near, but you keep your distance, your comfortable place, your routine, your fears, your burdens, your complaints...your excuses.
You haven't denied Him. You've always been a Believer, well sort of... but...is there evidence of that? Forgiveness frees us to draw close.
And that IS your fear...the judgment. And that is Your comfort zone...staying at a distance, away from those that can hurt. And that is your complaint...time and money and sacrifice...and that is your burden...a lack of purpose, of true JOY, of Your Destiny as His Child!
God is near. Christ is here, resurrected, the Redeemer! Grab His nail-pierced hand and take Him home with you. Don't keep your distance any longer. Ask Him to show you how to stay close, how to not wander, how to begin to leave evidence that you belong to Him, to see His Amazing Grace!
In a momentary admission of your need for Him, He will pour His love out again. There is no condemnation. He begins to remove the obstacles, dusting off your name written so many years ago in His Book of Life. The scriptures will once again become alive, filled with all the wonderful blessings He planned for you. You've come close before, you've met, you've felt His love for you. Can you feel Him again? His loves bridges all the ways you distanced yourself from Him. If we could see it, it is shaped like a Cross; kneel again.
Jesus forgave Peter and He became the Rock of the Church. He forgave you in the same way. Calvary is paved with stepping stones poured from His own blood. In each step of faith, His Light begins to diminish your fears, your burdens. "Belief" becomes a powerful promise. HOPE--embraceable! It's no longer distant, no longer unattainable.
James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
Don't place Him back in the cold, distant tomb!