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Friday, April 2, 2010

The Romance of Good Friday


Today is Good Friday. There, I reaffirm yet again my skill of stating the obvious :-)

Today is one of my favorite days of the year. Typically I'm off school, the weather is gorgeous, and I'm already dreaming of the Easter Bunny (Easter is close to Christmas in my house ;-) ). Plus, spring fever is in the air and all that jazzy goodness.

What could be better?

This year, however, is slightly different.

Now, I go to a public school. I didn't get off today. The people around me don't know, or could care less, about what this day means. "Good" is an oxymoron to them, and it's just another day of the year some cooks named after something random.

And I see this is a positive.

For one, the story doesn't get old--I don't hear it as often. For another, the day opens up conversations that might not otherwise have existed.

So when I was praying at the flag pole this morning one thought was on my mind:

Teach me to love as You love.

Good Friday is a love story. It's also an epic battle story, a tragedy, and a history story. But above all it's a love story.

The King of the world had a Son. And this Son desired more than anything to love and be loved. And so God sent His Son to this earth to court and win over His love.

Coincidentally, or by hand, I am reading White by Ted Dekker. And this theme of love is coursing through its veins. Not to mention the facts that God's been pounding the word "love" in my head for the past month. And so when I was at the pole today I was not surprised to be moved to love, and when I sat down to write this post I was not surprised to find the words "Romance of Good Friday" in the title.

God is speaking. He is showing Me (and, if you're reading this, you) His heart.

So what is the romance of this story?

A King, a Prince, a lost bride. I could see this on a romance novel.

But the difference is that this story is real. This one is happening as I type, as you read, as the bride slips away into darkness.

Jesus Christ fell in love with humanity. But they could not love him back as they were dead in their sins. They couldn't love him back. It wasn't possible. They couldn't understand His love nor could they understand love period. Their minds were dead, and their hearts even more so.

But, things had been set in motion by His father. And His father knew that the only way to free them of their broken minds and dead bodies was for someone that lived to die.

Christ was the only one truly alive. He was not dead in sin. He knew no sin. He loved and was love.

And so Christ bore the cross for the sake of his bride. To woo her to himself he laid down his very own life.

There is quite a bit to learn from this story. Not only did it provide you and me a chance of survival and a true understanding of love. It also illustrates the characteristics of a man. It also illustrates the role of the Christian today.

The man laid down his life for the woman he loved.

The Christ(ian) laid down his life for the lost.

Eventually I'd like to do a full post on this first point but I don't have the time, or space, at the moment. But men need to remember this illustration of love. Boys and men. Christ hung on the Cross shouting out at us "THIS is love! Until you will willingly die for her you are not deserving of my daughter!"

And secondly is the relationship of the lost and found.

People have this idea that because the lost are...lost, covered in sin, etc that we should either A) become like them in an attempt to win their attraction or B) completely disown them.

But looking at how Christ wooed his bride we cannot accept either of these options. Christ didn't look at his bride, us....those who would/could be saved, and say "She's dirty. She's a whore. I love her but I am too clean," and then dirty himself all up. NO! He remained true to who he was, remained pure of sin, and wooed her another way.

In the same manner he didn't look at this bride and say, "I'm too good for her. She doesn't deserve me. She's dirty. She's a whore. She is not worthey." And then walk away and never speak to her again.

What did he do instead?

He sacrificed himself for her.

So what does this mean for us?

Quite simple really. We are not to dirty ourselves. We are not called to become like the world in effort to make them come to the saving trust of Jesus Christ. Our faith, our peace, our freedom alone is enough to attract them. We don't need to go and spoil these very things to win their affections.

And we are also not supposed to live detached from the world. In the world but not of it. That's the key. We can't woo them if we don't assosiate with them. And we won't be a faithful bride ourselves if we go and sleep with sin to help attract the lost.

We are to sacrifice ourselves. Just as Christ sacrificed himself.

Give of your time, give of your heart...

Love the lost.

I wrote a poem once. It ended something like this:

...
Love them for their maker
And bring them to the fold


May we woo the bride of Christ.

To the end,
Nathan

19 comments:

Squeaks said...

This is an awesome way of putting ... everything!! It sounds so epic, yet it's really true... Thanks for the encouraging post :)

Squeaks.

Jessica said...

Beautiful, 1000% beautiful. Thank you for sharing, it is so moving...

Madeline said...

Funny, but last year I wrote an allegorical-type "story", I guess you could call it, about that very thing, illustrating in depth the love that Jesus had for us to be able to die for his bride. Maybe I should post it...*thinks*...excellent post, btw. lol I forgot to say that.

Millardthemk said...

Nathan,

I hate to crimp your plot for the article which I found very good overall, but it explicitly states in the Bible that the Church is Christ's bride. The Church not the world.

But even with that fact I thought you put it well we don't have to dirt ourselves to attract the world.....that is something that is really not taught. Everyone says, "Be more relevant! Change with the culture maybe they will see you are different!"

Well quite frankly, I doubt they see a difference after we make ourselves all "Culturally relevant"

Squeaks said...

@ Millardthemk,

I see what you're talking about, but I somewhat disagree. I don't think Nathan is trying to say that the world is the Bride of Christ. From what I get, the Bride of Christ is all of those who have dedicated themselves to Jesus and submitted to Him. Remember, Christ "wooed us" (as Nathan says :P ) before we were His bride. When we are not believers, we are potential "brides" XD. With that in mind then, I guess he's saying that we should be following in Christ's footsteps and wooing ( :P ) the people of the world because that is what Christ does. What is a better way to do that than by giving up our lives to save theirs?
So I see what you mean by how the world isn't the Bride of Christ, but we have to keep it in mind that they all have the potential to be part of the Church and part of His Body. Maybe that makes a bit of sense, or maybe I'm just muddling things XD

Squeaks.

Nathan R. Petrie said...

@Squeaks, I am glad you were encouraged by it. These are the words God's been speaking to me with lately.

@Jessica, it is the Spirit that moves. He was moving me too ;)

@Madeline, post it! I'll try and read it lol

@Millard, Squeaks kinda summed it up. The world is the promised bride of Christ while those that have chosen to marry Him are already his bride. As Squeaks said, Christ wooed us while we were lost. So we should woo the world as His image bearers. The lost will become the bride. obviously you are not the bride until your wedding day. But you can be betrothed ;)

And yes, we don't need to become the "cool" Christians.

Thanks for covering me Squeaks ;) lol

Millardthemk said...

You should have to pay her Nathan ;)

Madeline said...

I might, at that! lol I'll let you know if/when I do.

Squeaks said...

@ Nathan,

I have a feeling that this last little bit of the end of 09 and beginning 10 God has been pressing the theme of love on people's hearts. During the Christmas holiday, I felt so overcome with a Christ-like love for some of the older people in my Church so I wrote them Christmas letters telling them that they were loved :P They all were thrilled...and I know it touched them. It makes me happy to know that Christ is speaking through the youth (and all age categories) to other people of his love.

It was funny but when I mentioned what our Lord was pressing on my heart to my youth group, they all agreed and said that He had been pressing the same thing on their hearts. :P It's just too cool to see God working in our world XD

@ Madeline,

That would be cool if you posted your work! But you should probably make sure that no one can copy it (spammers or annoying folks). Sometimes original work can get stolen...that's definitely not fun (never happened to me but I've heard of it).

Squeaks.

♥Bleah♥Briann♥ said...

Happy Easter...I'm dreaming of eggs and all the fluff as well. That was a realy stunning, touching post. Keep up with the talent God has given you!
Again, Happy Easter. Can't wait to see what you have to say then!

Nathan R. Petrie said...

@Squeaks, I love when God speaks to us :D I've been drawing really close to Him lately and it's so funny, interesting, awesome, the things he talks to you about. Even the smallest, silliest of things. I was thinking the other day, "Man if only I ALWAYS felt this guidance." But that's silly, all I have to do is listen :P lol

@Madeline, if you post your work on your blog or anywhere else online it's illegal for someone to steal it. You have an automatic copyright.

@Bleah,Briann, I hope I haven't outdone myself ;) lol

Wayne Leeke said...

Easter is a day that most don't under stand. I for one can't stand Easter becuase of morbidly stupid people (to celebrate out in public any ways).

Remember what I said at lunch about how "Jesus came back from the dead as a zombie bunny to give the world eggs"? That is actually something a small child told me two years ago when I asked him if he know what Easter was about.

Also, not every one at Public school is like that. We're not all stupid.

Squeaks said...

@Nathan, cool! Have you ever read Brad Jersak's book "Can You Hear Me"?

Galadriel said...

I love that series...I read Justin's death in Red the other day and almost started crying...it's an excellant example of Christ's love.

Nathan R. Petrie said...

@Wayne, Yeah I know. It's sad. Part of the reason we need to woo the Bride using this day.
Right, people don't understand. That's part of the "bride slipping into darkness" thing.
Hey, I know not everyone is like that :P lol You know that. I was just saying most.

@Squeaks, I have not.

@Galadriel, Red is currently my favorite book...ever. I loved the idea of the allegory being from the opposite point of view.

Katherine Sophia said...

That *was* epic-ly beautiful. Love it.

Nathan R. Petrie said...

@Katherine, thank you! :D

Gwendolyn said...

Fantastic post, Nathan. I read it weeks ago (when you posted it, actually) but I didn't quite have time to sit and digest it. Over the past two weeks, though, the thoughts expressed here have stayed with me and haunted my mind, always teasing me but somewhat out of reach. Then, a week or so ago, a phrase came, a quiet word in a time of turmoil, and it seemed to sum up everything.


Ardent love.


During this trip South, I learned many lessons. But this one came first, alongside trust. Love. What it means to really love.


I don't know if you, being a boy, read Louisa May Alcott's books, but one of the romance elements in her book Rose in Bloom came to mind - Mac Campbell wooing Rose. He never said anything, never pushed her, but she knew through his silence that he loved her. Because he lived it. His was not a loud, obnoxious, or dashing pursuit; but a loyal, unfading, undying passion that burned in a trustworthy and noble soul.


And I can't help but think, that if we servants of Christ were to show this love to the sin-stained children of this world, all the forces of evil would not be able to stand against it. Love with fiery passion. Love with abandon. Love with devotion. With sacrifice.


Ardent love.


A fire such as this can naught but kindle the flame in the heart of another. May we all be moved to live this passion that God has put in our hearts.


For His Son,
Gwendolyn

Nathan R. Petrie said...

Amen Gwen (rhymes :P ) Ardent love is key. :) Time the church started living it.

"Stand tall now and proclaim what you have seen, speak in whispered roars..."