As we approach the death and resurrection of our Lord, we are confronted with the picture of a cross and an empty tomb. First let us view this cross, this wooden, rough-hewn, portrait that holds our Savior in His darkest hour. If you were to touch this cross, you would feel the splinters and quickly pull your hand away, probably getting slivers in the process. Not really a smooth surface for a body to lie against. The body of Christ was beaten beyond recognition. The blood flowed freely from His body, painting the cross with the rich sacrifice for us. As we look up to the cross, we can see the Savior hanging on nails, pieces of metal forcefully hammered into his hands and feet. How can we look "up" to this shameful site...a figure showing the sinfulness of man upon an innocent human being--God's Son dying for our sin. I am reminded of a hymn that our family sang in church every Lenten season. I remember this particular verse because as I sang it, even as a child, my eyes would fill with tears. It is a verse from the hymn "Alas and did my Savior bleed." Perhaps you remember it as well.
Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness
And melt mine eyes to tears. Lutheran Service Book #437
This verse expresses from the heart how our Savior has paid the price for our sin. Should I be looking "up" to see Him or is it more honest and true to hide my face in my hands as His cross is brought before me on Good Friday. Should not our our hearts "dissolve" in thankfulness...they are weak, fragile and broken. Mine eyes melt to tears...tears of repentance, tears of sadness and tears of longing to be embraced by our Heavenly Father.
It is at this time that we remember the comfort given to us--a comfort spoken to us through the voice of the Holy Spirit as He reminds us of the solitary cross, the empty tomb and the hope and joy that is ours at last.
Holy Week is a time of reflection on all that Jesus has done for us. This year as you consider all the blessings, trials, challenges and joy that you have experienced, may the vision of that cross melt your eyes to tears --tears that will someday be wiped away by the hand of Jesus as you stand before His throne and share in the Heavenly Easter feast.