Gift of love
Your gift of love, they crucified
They laughed and scorned Him as He died
The humble King they named a fraud
And sacrificed the Lamb of God. — Twila Paris
This Easter weekend, I am going to quote verses from some hymns I love that seem especially fitting for this season. Of all the most powerful ways to defeat despair, the singing of “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” is perhaps my favorite. This simple, beautiful tribute written by Twila Paris is a song we sing often at church, but no matter how often we sing it, I cannot get through it without tears.
I will always be grateful for having grown up in a church that taught singing as something that belonged to the entire congregation, not just a select and talented few in a choir or band. Because everybody was expected to sing, the emphasis was on the meaning and spirit behind the songs rather than on the performance. Sometimes this produced uneven results, particularly in smaller groups, yet it instilled in me a readiness to sing despite not being musically gifted. More importantly, it planted the words to countless songs deep in my heart, allowing me to sing these songs from memory whenever I most need their messages.
As a child, I never understood why this day was called “Good Friday.” What could possibly have been good about it? It took me many years to begin to understand the profound truths underlying the themes of redemption through suffering, and joy that can be borne only of pain. Although I still have a long way to go before I fully comprehend the beautiful words of Isaiah 53, I can find a comfort in them today that I scarcely imagined when my life was more innocent and carefree.
Today, I encourage you to remember with me the transient nature of this life, and for those of us who are Christians, to reflect on the blessed mystery of a God who was willing to become one of us, even to the point of a gruesome and humiliating death.
Last year on Good Friday: