Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Transforming Tragedy

"God transformed that tragedy,
(the death of Jesus on a cross),
by letting his death pay the price for all our sins."
I'm quoting from our lenten reading for Tuesday this week. Isn't it beautiful? Somehow our amazing God was able to transform the brutal death of his only Son into our salvation, our freedom. It was his plan all along. Jesus mentioned his impending death on several occasions to his followers. How many of them at the foot of that gruesome cross could have seen anything beyond the tragic loss of their Rabbi?
It really is AMAZING GRACE!
What amazes me still is that God continues to actively transforming tragedy. He does this.
I stand aghast like those earlier followers at the small scale tragedies in my life. Redemption? Transformation? That hope trickles into the tragic scenes of my life one small drop at a time. Sudden change, unexpected loss, disappointed dreams these are everyday tragedies. Catching us of guard. Throwing us for a loop. I've been thrown a time or two.
It's interesting the longer I live, the less space there seems to be between the shock and the hope. More recently, I hear myself saying things like "God can use this" and "I see God working in this". Strange.
I remember this passage from Luke 4, Jesus reading from Isaiah:
18"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
I've always loved that moment where Jesus closes the book and says "this is happening right now before your very eyes". My paraphrase.
And it IS happening. It is happening all around us. It is happening in my life. I am poor and weak, but the Good News is that Jesus came for folks like me. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. I've experienced rich mercy, rich grace. I am rich in so many ways. I have been a prisoner of denial, of pain, of fear, of shame, but I find myself daring to dream again. Free like I have never been. Chains are broken. Chains are breaking. I know what it is like to walk in darkness. Existing. Surviving. Not seeing any hope for me. I was blind but I am recovering my sight. Jesus released me. He walked me through! He surrounds me with his favor like a shield.
God, transforming tragedies both large and small.
Such a Glorious Redemption!

If you are interested in learning more and actively participating in Lent this year visit this website of daily Lenten Prayers and Scripture Readings

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