I watched The Passion of the Christ last Sunday night with my church. It was one of those things that I wasn't particularly keen to do, precisely because I had heard so much about the movie from so many different people (a reason I have still neglected to see Titanic or to read the last Harry Potter novel). I didn't enjoy it, which I expected, partially because it was so Mary-centric and contained so many unhistorical (i. e. not included in the Bible) scenes and lines; and partially because it was just so unpleasant--not unlike Apocalypto or Braveheart with their relentless violence (makes sense--same director). When I allowed myself to enter the movie emotionally--as opposed to watching it critically--I found myself choked and in tears at the thought that that was Jesus, Him who died in my place. It was kind of incredible to see the relentless, senseless cruelty and shame that He endured, the wretched treatment He underwent at the hands of people who did not in any way grasp that the hands they brutalized had knit them together in their mothers' wombs. I wanted to shout for joy at the sight of those perfect holes in those perfect hands as He left the tomb, risen. Those holes looked like windows through which to see the world.

Part of me keeps forgetting that today is Good Friday--I am not really a special-day person, but I feel like I should be. But today is the day when God died, in an utterly real way--He was cut off from Himself by our sin, under the penalty of His own wrath for us (a wrath that He knew intimately and still took up intentionally). Today is an anniversary of the day when the Son felt the pain of alienation from the Father, when He suffered what must have been for Him an eternity of wrath.

One of the things we learned in Systematic Theology (or rather, not learned, but put into words something we had grasped intuitively but not solidified intellectually) was the analogic communication of God. He is so much greater and higher than we are, that He has to communicate things about Himself by analogy, so that we can understand Him at all--and His greatest analogy was His descent to earth as a human, so that we could know Him as dearly as ourselves. It seems to me that His earthly punishment and pain--so awful and abhorrent--were analogous to what was going on inside Him as His pure soul became sin for us. I don't think we'll ever fully understand that.

Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called the sons of God....

I can't wait for Sunday. All the delight is in the resurrection.

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