Friday, April 22, 2011

Thank God for this Friday

No event in the history of the world makes a stronger argument for the connection among our minds, bodies and souls than Jesus' Way of the Cross, commemorated today on Good Friday.

His excruciating walk up to the top of Golgatha to be crucified after what was a long and painful night and morning of whipping, hitting, mockery, scourging, and abuse was somewhat common for the brutal, vicious, and volience-oriented society in which Jesus lived.

Uncommon was Jesus' physical strength to make it all the way to the top of the hill, endure the nails piercing his hands and feet and the time he spent hanging from the cross. This wasn't the death of Superman, with the ability to fly, heat vision and cold breath. Jesus was not superhuman; He was fully human. Therefore, His ability to endure this amount of pain and torture was the product of an intimate and most perfectly balanced connection among His mind, body and soul.

Scientists speculate that many would have been so weakened after His brutal torture that they would have been unable to carry their cross. Jesus Himself falls three times on His way up and Simon of Cyrene is pressed into helping Jesus carry the cross. But He makes it.

Furthermore, the intensity of the nails piercing His skin, especially in the places where they were supposedly driven (think about how sensitive your hands and feet are) would have been another instance where most humans would have either passed out or passed into death. Jesus, however, endures.

Finally, though, His body does succumb to death.

But, this Via Dolorosa gives us insight on how to overcome both the desires and weakness of our flesh and the tricks and lies of our minds: faith. Jesus believed He was following God's will. Similar to when an athlete, beyond the point of exhaustion, manages to find the endurance to sprint across the finish line, allowing our spirit to break through both our minds and our bodies can allow for the spirit to enter the world and in doing so, allow for the miraculous.

A soldier facing an enemy to ensure freedom. A student standing up to a bully to fight for a classmate being picked on. A surgeon working for hours to save a patient. A janitor brightening more than just the floors and bathrooms to include people's days. A woman in labor giving birth to her newborn child. All of these entail the spirit breaking through both the mind and body in such a way that something miraculous occurs.

When we follow our purpose, and focus on it with a spiritual hunger, we can overcome our physical limitations ("I'm just one person, what can I do?"), or our mental ones ("Everyone will think I'm crazy," "I'll be made fun of," "I'm so afraid of what will happen to me," etc.).

We call Jesus, "The Way," because He Himself said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life" (John 14:6). And we call Him this because He came to show us the way-- to live, to die, to, if we follow Him all the way up to the cross, conquer death.

"Follow me," He says (Mark 1:17 and Matthew 4:19). Not just during the miracles. Not just during the good times. Not just during your triumphs, joys and successes. I can't promise that this life with Me will be easy, just worth it.

Jesus, we thank you for giving us this example of how to balance our minds, bodies and souls. We thank you for loving us to the point of death. We thank you for this Friday.

For, without this Friday, Sunday would be just another day of the week and our lives would be nothing more than time spent here on Earth.

Thank you, Jesus.