10 April 2017
Easter changed my life: Alexandra's story
This is part of our #EverythingChanges series. We celebrate Easter as the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ has changed our lives forever. We'd love to hear how your life has been changed by the cross, too. Share your story on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #EverythingChanges.
Last year I took part in the ritual of Maundy Thursday for the first time, gathering at church to spend time in reflection on the last supper, on the preparation Jesus was making for his coming experience. I'm a crier, so being totally overwhelmed by what my Jesus had willingly – if not without hesitation – embarked on for me didn't surprise me, and the tears that streamed down my face, down my neck, on to my t-shirt, into my lap, were welcome.
Then Friday comes, the dawn, the morning, noon, the afternoon. I'm learning to mark these moments, to remember what Jesus was doing, feeling, experiencing at each of these milestones – and that if I were the only person on earth, he'd have done it just for me.
My favourite moment of the Good Friday story – and so, I suppose, in all of human history – comes in Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38 and Luke 23:45: "At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom."
In that moment is everything Jesus came to do. Everything Thursday is about, the night of torture and trauma at the hands of his unpraying friends, his betrayal, his thorn of crowns, his beatings, his humiliation, the Friday morning of cross-carrying, nail-bearing, body-breaking agony bears triumph in the tearing the curtain in two.
And my God is no longer just my God, but my friend. My BFF, in fact. My God no longer requires the impossible of me, no impossible perfection, no substitutionary scapegoat, no sacrifices or offerings. He has literally torn in two the curtain of division.
On Saturday, we wait. I'm still working on this.
But on Sunday… Sunday is where the cross is completed. We can't have Friday without Sunday. Because Sunday is the other side of the curtain.
The curtain doesn't tear so we can just stand on the side of death and horror and look at the path ahead. The curtain tears so that on Sunday, when the women realise Jesus is gone and Mary recognises the gardener for the master that he truly is, we walk through the gap and into glory.
Certain glory, too. Not conditional, either on me or on any other human. Not conditional on political structures. Not conditional on the arc of history. Not conditional on technological advancement. Not conditional on personal goodness. Certain glory, already won.
The cross is the gateway, the open gate to glory.
Jesus opens it on Friday, and ushers me through on Sunday.
So here's the difference: I live in Sunday, not in Friday. I live in grace: guilt-free, love-filled, glory-promised grace.
Whatever I do, whether it's the nice things I sometimes manage or the stroppy failures that are more common, I do them under grace. Never judged, never punished, never love-losing, never glory-removing.
And so, with every sinful failure, there is no failure. Only repentance, forgiveness and the open gateway to glory. Sunday.