Saturday, April 23, 2011

Good Friday Meditation

Today is Good Friday. At 11am this morning, my wife and I went to Church to participate in the "Stations of the Cross" walk through the neighbourhood. There were about 30 of us. With one of us carrying a giant cross, the rest of us solemnly walked to seven different stations. At each station, we would pause to hear the leader announce the significance of the station. He read a short phrase, followed by a common reading response from all. A volunteer among us read a passage of Scripture. Finally a hymn was sung.

I thought about the whole process. The hymn "Were You There" remained in my head.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
      Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
      Oh . . .
      Sometimes it causes me to tremble
      Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

I tried to visualize myself there at Calvary when Jesus was crucified. Somehow, my imagination failed me. I tried to see Jesus suffering at the cross. I tried. Later, this story hit home.

A Story from "Bridge Over the River Kwai"
In the book, "Bridge Over the River Kwai," there was a WWII incident about 10 British Prisoners of War forced by their Japanese captors to build a bridge over the River Kwai in Thailand. They were given tools like shovels before the beginning of the workday, and at the end of the day, to return all of them. Any shovel that was missing would result in brutal punishment. One day, the officer in charge found only 9 shovels at the end of the day. Furious, he asked the POWs to own up. None responded. He threatened the first prisoner, and that he would not hesitate to kill. There was silence. After a seemingly long time, a man in the middle stepped forward. He was immediately shot dead.

It was soon realized that the officer had actually miscounted the number of shovels. There were none missing at all. The prisoners were shocked and moved to learn that their compatriot had given up his own life to save the rest.

This story reminded me of Jesus, who a perfectly innocent man, chose to bear all the consequences of sins of the world on his shoulder. He had given up his own life to save us. This is why Good Friday is remembered.

May we tremble. Tremble at our sinfulness. Tremble when we have been delinquent in recognizing God's Greatest Sacrifice. At the cross.


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