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My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Matthew 27:46 (ESV)
I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Hebrews 13:5 (ESV)
This week’s post will be somewhat abbreviated in length because its purpose is to preface next week’s post by drawing you into some reflection of your own as a precursor to the 2018 season of Lent. What you need to know for the time being is that Lent is traditionally a 40-day season that marks the Christian calendar as a time of spiritual preparation leading up to the celebration of the Passion – or death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Reflecting upon an instance when he was asked to speak of the Passion to a group of prison inmates in Ukraine, Donald M. Fairbairn Jr., PH.D., writes:

As I thought about what I might say, my mind turned to these two passages [listed above]. Forsakenness – that was something these men would know about. Their society had locked them up, abandoned them. True, they deserved it. But in a sense we all deserve something worse than being abandoned by our society. We have all turned away from God, whether actively and obviously, or through more passive neglect of God as we go about our lives. [Because of this,] we all deserve to be forsaken by God.[1] (Brackets mine.)

In light of Dr. Fairbairn’s hard-hitting truth, then, how
                                                 
                                                      precious,
                                                     
                                                            priceless,
                     
                                                                   perfect
is the pardon that is ours solely through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God, who chose to be forsaken that we may be rescued! It is this truth and what it means in your own life that I hope you’ll take some time to think about between this week and next. I also encourage you to jot down or even journal your thoughts and any ways they shift in the coming weeks if you’d like.
I’m asking that you do this because it seems at times that as Christians we tend to sentimentalize or even romanticize what actually happened during that Holy Week that ended with Christ’s gift of eternal life to any and all who would by faith receive His grace. The betrayal, the mockery, the whips, the thorns, the wood, the nails, the hammers, the sword, the blood, the water, the darkness, the tomb; each element of the Passion was blatantly, hauntingly realistic. To sentimentalize, to romanticize, to grasp the true point of the Passion as one sentence or paragraph does a great injustice not only to Scripture as a whole, but also to the Trinity as a whole.
In its full factuality, in other words, the details surrounding the Passion, its origin and meaning in our lives are far too large to fit into one blog post, one book of Scripture and – contrary to popular thinking – even into one Testament of God’s Word.
 
So here’s the deal: once you spend some time this week considering Dr. Fairbairn’s thoughts as quoted above, we’ll meet back here next week to begin our walk through the season of Lent. We’ll explore its origin and tradition for informational purposes – don’t worry, you won’t be expected to give up food, Facebook or any other activity unless you want to do so. And then in the remaining weeks, we’ll trace a beautiful scarlet thread that winds from cover to cover of the Bible to discover the ways that one Man in one week fulfilled its entire premise by choice to rescue you and me from a punishment we completely deserved.
 
Some of it’s logical; a lot of it isn’t; but the spiritual health and growth of every believer depends on every bit of it, so please consider joining us for some jaw-dropping, eye-popping, life-affirming discoveries as we move forward into the Logistics of Lent.

– Copyright 2018, Carole Anne Hallyburton. All rights reserved.
 
1] Printed in Journey to the Resurrection 2013, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.