My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more–
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
I have sung these words so often — they’re the third verse of Horatio Spafford’s wonderful hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul” — and they always move me. Spafford creates such a powerful image of what Jesus’ crucifixion means, what it accomplished. As David preached on Sunday, “All life-changing love is substitutionary self-sacrifice,” and Jesus’ love is the most life-changing of all. As he was nailed to the cross, he was willingly and lovingly substituting his righteousness for our sin… Our sin really has been nailed to the cross.
On Good Friday, we stop to ponder this, to sit in silence before the cross, aware of the depth of both our sin and God’s love. This year, we will have the opportunity to sit before an actual cross, and to nail our own sin to it. Steve Brooks (who built our beautiful, reclaimed-wood cross that hangs behind the altar) is building us another cross — a big cross, heavy and rough. From 12:00 – 3:00 on Friday afternoon, and again from 7:00-7:30 on Friday evening, the church will be open for silent prayer. We’ll have pieces of paper, we’ll have hammers, and we’ll have nails. As you pray, you can (anonymously) write on those pieces of papers any sins you want to confess to God. And then you can nail those pieces of paper to the cross.
At the end of the Good Friday service on Friday evening, we will carry the cross out of the church, a visible reminder of the way Jesus carried our sins. And at the beginning of the Great Vigil on Saturday night, as we light the new fire that represents the light of Christ, we will tear down those pieces of paper from the cross and burn them… as the darkness of our sin is consumed by the light of the life of the risen Jesus. “Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!”
So join us these next days as we journey from the upper room to the cross and ultimately gather together to proclaim “Alleluia!” at the empty tomb.
- Maundy Thursday — The Last Supper — 7:30 pm (nursery available)
- Good Friday
- Silent prayer — 12:00-3:00 pm, 7:00-7:30pm
- The Last Words of Christ — 7:30 pm (nursery available)
- Holy Saturday — The Great Vigil of Easter — 8:30pm (no nursery)
- Easter Sunday — Holy Eucharist — 9:00 & 11:00 am and 5:00 pm
As always, Matt Hoppe has put much thought and prayer into choosing the music for all of these services. Listening to the music before the service is one way to prepare yourself for worship, to open your heart to the Holy Spirit’s work in you. Each week, Matt posts the music for the upcoming services at restorationmusic.wordpress.com. I encourage you to visit the site this week, to receive the gift of these carefully chosen songs, and to invite God to use them to prepare you to meet him in new and profound ways this Holy Week.
So grateful to be on this journey with you…