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delayed

March 30, 2008

I have seen The Passion of the Christ twice in my life.


The first time I was still Saul. It was a corny church out-reach effort and I knew it, but Holy Spirit was stirring something inside of me whether I liked it or not. I went. I squeezed my eyes shut for half of the feature, and wondered at Jesus being such a good-looking guy for the other half. I cried. Not because my Savior died in my place, but just at the inhumanity of what He – as a man – suffered for whatever reason.

I was pretty sure I didn’t believe it, but after having seen that, “pretty sure” wasn’t enough. I needed to decide if I believed it was real. It just seemed like a lot was at stake: not a lot of me, but a lot of Him. I wasn’t frightened of hell in the least, but I was nervous about wasting His sacrifice.

The second time I was already reborn. I squeezed my eyes shut for half of the feature, and wondered at Jesus being such a good-looking guy for the other half. I cried. Then I got up to lead worship with seven people in the room – five of them on stage.

I did a mental survey of all the worship songs in our repertoire and none were enough. None said anything of value. How could I stand behind a mic, under pretty lights, and – after all that – sing, “Thanks, Jesus – Ya, ya?”

We tried, because it was all we could do. We played one song and then we just played those same four chords over and over and over again. All that I could think about was how ridiculous it seemed to stand on a stage and say “Thanks” for that.

“Thanks” is what you say when someone hands you a receipt. “Thanks” is what you say when someone tells you they like your haircut. “Thanks” is what you say when the bank teller dryly instructs you to have a nice day. “Thanks” is not what you say when the King of kings leaves heaven for a manger, is marred more than any other man, and breathes his last breath in your place on a lonely cross.

So we played the same four chords over and over and over again. And eventually all I could sing was all that was in my heart, “What can I say, and what can I do, but take up my cross, and follow after You?”
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