S (Scripture): (2 Scriptures today)
Walk around Zion;
go all the way around it;
count its towers.
Examine its defenses closely;
tour its fortifications
so that you may tell future generations:
“This is God,
our God, forever and always!
He is the one who will lead us
even to the very end.”
Mark 2 (Jesus Heals and Forgives the Paralytic Man)
1 After a few days, Jesus went back to Capernaum, and people heard that he was at home. 2 So many gathered that there was no longer space, not even near the door. Jesus was speaking the word to them.
O (Observation): The people of God at the time of the psalms point to God as one who overwhelms us through awe and majesty and glory. And this God will lead us to the end.
Jesus, early in the Gospel of Mark, is about to forgive and heal a man born paralyzed. This brings awe and majesty to God, but in a very different way. This does not reduce God’s majesty, but rather augments the way in which God acts: through forgiveness and healing.
What do God’s people see? Powerful acts of God come through the majestic city of Zion and now, through Jesus in a defiant act of forgiveness and healing – defiant, for it was not the accepted way.
A (Application): Good Friday is upon us. I see two stark images from these texts. In the psalm, God’s city is majestic and holy. Where Jesus is on the cross, the city has been overrun by politics and an earthly emperor. In the Mark text, a crowd gathers for the awe that Jesus brings, and now, so few gather around Jesus on the cross – only his dedicated followers are with him – plenty of room.
And yet these starkly contrasting images blend together in a beautiful tapestry.
Bold, majestic, beautiful Zion. This is our God.
Emptied, suffering, dying. This is our God.
Both for our sake. Both to point to the true nature of our God – mighty, meek, gentle, healing, sacrificing.
This is Good Friday.
May we be blessed.
May the emptiness fill us this day.
P (Prayer): Gracious God, empty us of selfish desires and full us with your love. Amen.