Love dies…until Easter

by Craig on April 6, 2012

Love dies for three days...until Easter (12th Station of the Cross)

From the Book "He was One of Us" by Rien Poortvliet

The 37th hour of my Lenten fast…
stomach like a tossed and foamy sea…
a thousand hammers pounding a rhythm in my head.

It draws me deeper…closer to Our Lord.

Just recovered from pneumonia, I can feel it lurking again. I need one more day to reflect on the 13th and 14th Stations of the Cross. But there will be no third day of fasting. I choose practicality over devotion.

Our Lord prayed for us…

“…they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world…” (Jn 17:15)

Love doesn’t spend all of its time contemplating on the mountaintop.
Although we are not of the valley, it’s where we are called to live.

And I kidded a little with the God of all things…

“Lord, seriously…14?
I know my Bible numbers.
There should be 3, or 7, 12, or 49…
But not 14 Stations of the Cross!
I should stop at 12. Right?”

And I reached over for a book…and remember its story.

A cross country pilgrimage leading to a New Age bookstore on Melrose Boulevard in L.A. It was very chic, very spiritual, but not very Christian. The smell of books wafted through the air, and incense, and cups of tea.

It was a turn of the century (last) home…
two floors, fifteen small rooms…
in one of them, on the wall…was this…

Love died for three days...until Easter (12th Station of the Cross)

looking out lovingly on spiritual seekers…
so near to the Kingdom, but yet so far.

I sat with them for three hours gently debating the story of Jesus, the Cross, the Resurrection. At first there were two people, then a few more at a time, and soon about 25 people were in a circle around me.

As I was leaving, the store manager said,

“Wait, I have something for you.”

At the bottom of a display case…
under a pile of dust covered books…
was this…

Inside, there was the haunting image at the top of the post.

The 12th Station of the Cross…

God.
Dies.

And remembering this, at the 42nd hour of my fast…
eyes drape heavy like lead…my throat is a roaring fireplace…
the thousand hammers in my head are now one. hulking. sledge.

I want to just give in, drift off, let my eyes close, rest.

And I wonder if this is something…
just the tiniest something
of the way You felt, Lord…
as You said,

“It…is…finished” (Jn 19:30)

For the ransom of our life is so great,
that we should never have enough to pay it,
in order to live forever, and never die…
But God will ransom my soul… (PS 49:8,9,15)

As darkness encircled the light…
but only encircled it…
never overcoming it (Jn 1:5)…

The darkness encircled the light… but only encircled it… never overcoming it (Jn 1:5)…

Lord, You are about to spend three “earth” days preaching to imprisoned spirits from the time of Noah. (1 PT 3:18) Who knows how much time passed in the place to which you descended.

The Crucifixion was heartless, searing, savage…
but how much more violent was the Evil One…
as you descended into his territory?

Love…

Dies…

for three “earth” days…

until…

Easter.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Mari April 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Hi Craig. So glad to be reading the Good Friday all your posts from the last couple of weeks reflecting on Easter… Pneumonia?! Praying it one reappear! Happy Easter my friend. May the peace of Christ be with you this Easter weekend

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Craig April 7, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Mari, it happens sometimes – pneumonia – it’s the sleep thing. But remember, I’m recounting my fast – my fast happened last month. Currently there isn’t much sleep – but there’s also not much pneumonia ツhappy Easter to you too my friend, and thank you.

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Dawn April 6, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Oh.my.Craig,

I was reading your post and you said how you got this book by Rien Poortvliet. Something surged through my being when I read that name. Didn’t I know that name? I got up from my computer and tore through a few drawers and a closet. Where was it?

It took about 10 minutes but I finally located a coffee table book of Noah’s Ark. There was that name: Rien Poortvliet. Yes! It was the same gorgeous sketching in black and white and pastels. I had written in the front of the book “Purchased with money received from Messiah College students ‘To the Glory of God.'”

One day after a particularly difficult semester I received an anonymous envelope with enough money in it to buy two gorgeous books. Poortvliet’s book was one of them. My fellow faculty member whose office was across the hall from mine told me students gave it to her to give to me because they knew I wouldn’t take it from them. They took up a collection because they wanted me to know how much they cared for me. There it was: a bunch of ones and a few bigger bills in a business envelope

This book is so special to me because it reminds me of the students. I didn’t know of Poortvliet before I bought the book, I just knew his drawings brought me closer to the Creator. Having him show up on your post today brought the generosity of these students from 1993 into the present making this Good Friday even more meaningful. I have much for which to be thankful.

Happy Easter, Dear Man,
Dawn

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Craig April 7, 2012 at 3:20 pm

why does it not surprise me that both you and I have books by this man – and both of them got into our hands in unique and powerful ways. I’ve always sensed that although our lives have taken completely different paths – there is a good deal in common spiritually – I know there is NOW at least! Thank you for telling me the story – it made me smile. God bless and keep you Dawn – Happy Easter!

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Michelle April 8, 2012 at 4:03 am

I read something yesterday (because it is now Sunday evening here) about how Saturday is a day of waiting. We know what we are waiting for, we have had Good Friday (or was it a Thursday?…), we have been through the suffering and are now impatient for the Rising of our Lord. But the disciples,…….they didn’t know what they were waiting for. As far as they knew, it was over.

I am so glad we live on this side of the Cross. But being reminded of the waiting, that was God’s timing for me. :)

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Craig April 9, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I’ve never really been a stickler for which modern HOLY DAY aligns with which actual day in history. They’re just days that we celebrate or remember. And Saturday? That IS the day of waiting as you said. Thursday is the day of trial, Friday is the day of sadness, Saturday is the day of waiting, Sunday is the day of joy. If the apostles had listened better they would’ve known that Sunday was coming, but they actually thought the women were crazy when they told them of the resurrection. Little faith ones all the way up until Pentecost – then they grew up. God bless you Michelle, and thank you my friend.

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