29 March 2013

Music Day (Part One)

I had a different song planned for today, but at the Good Friday church service this morning, they showed this video.

It completely wrecked me.

Seriously, go watch it. You will almost certainly end up in tears, but please, go watch it. It will stretch your brain like it has never been stretched before. Go ahead. This post will still be here when you're done.

Watched it? Good.

I don't know how much you know about what happened that day, so I'll try to explain it a little. Then the video might make more sense -- in its crazy seemingly-backwards way.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. In six literal days. (I know most people refuse to believe that, but then again, you could believe all you want that grass is orange and that wouldn't make it true. I'm not going to get into the debate here because it'll detract from the point I'm making.)

This God is a powerful God -- think about it. He spoke and the entire freaking universe showed up. We can't even find the end of this universe, and God holds it all in the palm of His hand (you know what that means? We can't even measure the span of God's palm, never mind God Himself. That's how big He is). This God is a holy God -- perfect in every way, even ways our brains can't even think about. This God is unchangeable -- He has been and always will be the same. And this God is a just God -- crimes against His holy law (based, by the way, on His own perfection) are punished justly.

And the just punishment is death.

God made us so we could bask in Him. But rather than basking in Him, we spat in His face. We continue to deliberately and repeatedly break His law (as laid out in Exodus chapter 20 -- commonly referred to as the Ten Commandments). So we are now under the death sentence. This death is worse than anything else imaginable -- complete and eternal separation from God (and that is what actual Hell is). We will have no access to Him. The momentary pain of physical death is nothing compared to being completely cut off from the source of beauty and meaning and purpose and everything wonderful (namely, God).

But... God is also a God of love and grace. He forgives.

But how can a unchanging and flawlessly just God just up and forgive somebody? The crime has been committed and the guilty party must pay. If God were to just turn a blind eye to it, He would no longer be just and He would no longer be unchangeable. God would then be weak and worthless.

He is forgiving. That cannot change. He is just. That cannot change.

Now what?

Somebody had to pay. So God fathered a baby (Jesus) who had a human mother (Mary). Because the holy unchanging God was Jesus' father (rather than a human father who automatically carries the sin nature), Jesus was completely untainted by sin. And Jesus was going to pay the price for the crimes of we the humans so God could then legally be able to forgive us while still serving perfect justice -- after all, the price would then be paid.

And the price was separation from God. So God, the Father, and Jesus, the Son, would have to be separated. Understand that they had been together for eternity past, up until that point. Father and Son had never, ever been separated.

But when Jesus was in His early thirties, around the year 30 A.D. they were separated for the first time. Whenever we humans have trouble here on Earth, we can always call out to God. We know He hears us. But on the day when Jesus' entire weight hung on a cross, supported only by three measly nails, after He had spent all night being shuffled back and forth as a political pawn in a sham trial and beaten and mocked multiple times, after all His friends on earth had abandoned Him, He could not call out to God. God would not listen to Him. In fact, God was pouring out all His just wrath that was meant for all humankind on Jesus. Not only was God watching Jesus die, He was actively crushing Jesus to death Himself. (Are you seeing the parallel to the video now?)

God knew even then that the overwhelming majority of the people on that proverbial train wouldn't care. They would remain angry, bitter, and selfish. They would remain addicts and thieves and liars and cheats. They would continue to spit in His face and actively try to destroy the knowledge of His very existence. How easy it would have been to not pull the lever, to save his son and let the passengers on the train die.

But then, of course, He would no longer have been unchanging and perfect.

I've been exposed to this knowledge for my entire life. But watching that video today, feeling, however vaguely, the emotions of the father, suddenly this whole thing perplexes me. Why? Why would God do something so seemingly crazy?

Don't get me wrong, I'm thankful God did it. I'm thankful that I have the option of new life, life with Him rather than forever separated from Him. But... why? What would drive Him to save the addict on the train, who thinks of nothing but where she's getting the next hit? What would drive Him to give a second chance at life to the people who wouldn't care -- if they even knew at all -- that He had had to kill His own Son to do it?

All I could see as I watched that video was me -- the addict on the train. Because I am an addict. I'm addicted to having people think nicely of me. I'm addicted to getting things my way -- oh, I'll be 'polite' about it, but woe betide you if you 'ruin' my plans. I'm addicted to my downtime. I'm addicted to my pride, my reputation. I'm addicted to the need to have everything perfect, whether or not I'm actually responsible for the project. I'm addicted to the need to be right, to win an argument. I'm addicted to the need to be everybody's darling. And you already know of my music addiction. And there are so many others. I will do almost anything to get -- or keep -- all of this. If I'm brutally honest, God is just barely in the top ten on my priority list, below all this other stuff. And still He crushed His Son so that I may live.

I still can't wrap my head around why He would do something like this. I don't know if I will ever be able to.

I don't have any children, but if that had been me in that father's place, I would most definitely have let the addict (and all the other comfortably seated people) die if it meant I would get one more chance to hug my child.

Well... like I said at the beginning of this post, I had a different song planned, but ever since watching that video, this song has been running through my head. This is the state I'm in right now.

Title: Broken
Artist: Altar Boys
Album: Against The Grain
Year: 1987
Label: Frontline Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.

I've done what's evil in Your sight
And my heart is crumbling.


Teresa said...

Hi there, I read your comment on Kelle Hampton's post and wanted to say thank you for what you shared. I thought you explained it very well! Teresa

Sarah-Kate said...

Hello and welcome! Thanks for the feedback -- I'm glad you enjoyed it.
- Kate