Today is an incredibly special day for me. No really, I can’t remember when there was so much awesome packed into another twenty four hour period. I mean, not only is this, today – April the 2nd – mine and Clare’s one year anniversary but it’s also Good Friday. Now as awesome as my one year anniversary with Clare is (and it’s pretty freakin’ awesome), I don’t think either of us could really, honestly compare it to the amount of awesome and joy all bundled up in Good Friday.
People often see Christians as a bunch of people with an overdose of the crazies and I can see why. Not only are our ranks peppered with nutters (some of whom are really lovely when you get to know them) but we also have lots of hangers on who really are crazy.
Yet not only this, but the very foundations of our faith and joy are grounded in impossible, crazy, ludicrous and bizarre claims. At Christmas we celebrate an infinite and eternal being who exists outside of our space-time compressing his infinity into the finite and fragile body of a newborn baby.
We don’t stop there though, we then go on to talk about this infinite and eternal God’s immortality while pointing every thing we do towards the day when this same Jesus was betrayed by his closest friends, unjustly accused of crimes, tortured by people he had made, then brutally executed thus severing the Trinity and marring one of the very attributes that makes Jesus God – his perfection. Not only this, but the God who is the the very definition of love and justice deems Jesus’ death to be the perfect example of both. No wonder Charles Wesley wrote “Tis myst’ry all – the Immortal dies! Who can explore this strange design?”
As if we weren’t already sounding unhinged enough, this immortal God who died has something different planned. The guy who is very much dead and buried then becomes the guy who is very much alive and shining, walking and talking about like before with only five wounds to remind us that he died.
However, the thing that never ceases to blow the lid off the crazy jar for me is the fact that this whole train of events is said to be specifically for me. Designed specifically for my failings. My talents and weaknesses. Me, the one who at times grows lazy and forgets God’s very existence, I am told quite specifically that I was handpicked before my birth for an overdose of God’s grace.
But which is more crazy – the events in which took place or my severe lack of consistent response? I’m inclined to say the latter.
Why do we believe such crazy claims? Why not just stick to the “be nice to people” stuff? We believe these things because we are fully convinced that they are true and as such, it is to these building blocks of our faith that we cling to so dearly not because they sound fantastical and implausible or because we have a few screws loose, but because we have become eye-witnesses of this God’s incredible claims and his immense majesty and power, in history and in our day to day lives.
Some of you have seen me excited when I talk about Glee. Others when I first ate that French pastry. A few of you have seen me smiling manically at a wedding. Many have heard me rave about music, or films, or Battlestar Galactica, an upcoming holiday, and a host of other things which make me jump up and down and giggle with excitement. You ain’t seen nothin’ compared to how happy I get over the Easter weekend. There’s always one point when the entirety of my understanding of the events hits me once more and I realise the stretch of God’s love can never be fully described in anything we sing, shout, write, show, or think.
“And were with ink the ocean filled,
and were the sky of parchment made,
and every blade of grass a quill,
and every man a scribe by trade,
to write the love of God above
would drain the oceans dry;
nor could the scroll contend the hole
though stretched from sky to sky.”