Posted by: Donna Douglass | Saturday April 3, 2010

Easter – another perspective

Beside himself in fury, Michael burst into the throne room and fell face down. “Do you see, Almighty One? Do you see what they are doing to Your Son?”

“I see,” replied the One upon the throne clothed in brilliance so pure that no human could see it and live. In those two short words, His voice overflowed with more emotion than Michael could comprehend.

“Let us go!” Michael begged, gesturing fervently from on his knees, aching to release the legions of angelic warriors who stood impatiently just outside, with swords drawn to defend their Commander.

“Enough! This must be,” the voice from the throne thundered. “Leave me. All of you!” A sweeping movement indicated the scores of angels, saints and heavenly creatures surrounding the room and filling it with majestic strains of worship. “Leave me!”

“But, Lord,” Michael could stay down no longer. He rose and took a step forward against the swarm of departing creatures. “They’re going to kill Him! Let us go!”

“Stay!”

The word filled the empty chamber and lingered long before it faded, taking with it the last of the angels and among them, Michael, who exited, amazed, through the towering portico through which he had entered. For the first time ever the glorious music was stilled. Terrible silence now engulfed the throne room, making the pregnant tension almost tangible.

Michael looked toward Earth again and saw the post drop cruelly into the hole that would hold the cross upright. The Son’s blood-ridden body flinched in silent agony. Michael turned away in horror and risked a glance back at the Father, cringing before the dreadful silence, but seeing nothing he could understand. Outside, the only sound in all of heaven was the occasional clink of armor or an unsheathed sword. The host of heaven held their breath.

All the attention of the One on the throne was directed at the hill outside Jerusalem, aching to surround His precious Son with all the love and comfort that was His being. From deep inside that measureless passion, He heard His Son cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

He replied with depthless compassion, “I forgive them.”

From a place a universe away yet right before Him, he heard a man address His Son, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” The joyful celebration of the angels almost drowned out the Son’s reply, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” The Father’s resplendent joy beamed forth from His radiance as He shared in the angels’ delight.

But when He turned His attention again to His Son – the One who had been with Him since before time began, through whom He had created all things, who was a part of His very self – His entire being convulsed. Where there had always been the purity and radiance that was His own, there was now a grotesque blackness in the presence of which He could not be. From far away He heard His Son cry out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” His whole being ached to go forth and rescue Him, but He could not; He could not be in the presence of sin; this must be.

In the purest of anguish, He turned His back. His justice was satisfied: the perfect sacrifice had been made, but His heart was rent straight through its core. Like a dim echo, the plea of His Son reached His ears, “I thirst.” With strength that only He possessed and torment beyond words, he withheld His hand from slaking the thirst of one He loved, just this once in all of eternity.

For this one moment, this one single moment, He was torn from His beloved Son, estranged from a very part of His own Being. In utterance almost beyond articulation, He joined His Son in shouting, “It is finished!” Heavenly creatures cringed as His thundering voice made all of creation tremble.

Agony beyond words drove the almighty hands to seize the top of the temple curtain, 80 feet high, thick and so heavy it required a posy of men to carry. In a visual reflection of His heart, He ripped it violently in two, forever destroying the barrier between Himself and the people He loved.

Overwhelmed by exhaustion, sorrow and thirst, the semblance of a Man hanging limply on the cross, uttered one last cry, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”

As the Son of Man’s head fell limply to His chest, the Father’s cry of agony reverberated throughout all of creation. The earth trembled. Rocks split apart. Tombs flew opened and their residents walked forth alive. For the cry of agony ended as a cry of deepest joy: Father and Son were reunited for all eternity. And because of that one moment apart, they are, together, forever united with the myriad of saints whom they have always known.

Epilogue: Now, as they stand outside of time, the Father gazes out across the great cloud of saints from all time, with love beyond understanding. His joy beams forth from His radiance, made all the more intense by the fathomless depth of His agony, as His beloved Son upon that cross, torn asunder from Him, stands ever before Him: the price they both paid for relationship with us.


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