I had never seen her in such a state. I knew that V. had long been battling anxiety issues. She had been doing remarkably well, in fact she had ‘given up worry for lent’ quite successfully, until now. Her smile had recently been marred by a broken tooth and now she was faced with oral surgery. She was told she would need someone to be with her for the 18 hours following her surgery. She could not imagine how she would find such a person and had worried herself into a state of near hysteria. Linda and I assured her that this was not an insurmountable problem. We stopped short of volunteering ourselves for we felt sure that this role would be filled by someone else in our community. From its inception Street Hope has had the goal of forming disciples who serve. Even while Linda was assuring and comforting our friend in walked M. As soon as she was asked she wrote down the date and assured that it would be no problem. It was marvellous to see the ‘air go out of worry’. The darkness was beaten back by a simple selfless act of promising to be there. Our friend became calm instantly. Demon ‘Worry’ could not remain in the presence of love in action.
Good Friday powerfully illustrates this. Jesus’ selfless act of love puts to flight the darkness that would hold us in its death grip.
As a follower of Jesus I cannot duplicate this substitutionary self-sacrifice but like my friend M. I can certainly follow Jesus in active self-giving. As followers of Jesus we could have prayed for my friend and that anxiety demon would remain. It was only as love was actively applied as a balm that our friend was set free.
Here I sit in the knowledge that it was my sin that took him to the cross and it was his love that held him there. Arms outstretched, as if to embrace the whole world, the sinless one became sin so that I might be right with God. I feel the guilt and shame in my role in this horrible crucifixion but even as, on this day, I sit with these emotions, I am filled with a joy unspeakable that his one act has for all times set me free from the consequences. He calls out to me down the ages “It is finished” “It is paid in full” and instantly I am free. I am renewed in my dedication to actively love so that others might experience this same freedom.
Good Friday to you all!