Stretching out Thy divine hands upon the Cross,
Thou hast joined together
that which before was divided,
and by Thy mediation
Thou hast offered as a gift to the Father
the nature of mortal man,
that was under condemnation.
Therefore we sing the praises
of Thy sinless Crucifixion.
St. Joseph the Studite
The Lenten Season causes us to consider that not everything is made right; that relationships are broken; that restoration is difficult. And this is why we live as walking dead. We walk in truth, but we walk knowing that we have died in Christ. So, we do not walk arrogantly; we do not walk expecting everything to go our way. We should walk expecting that only God’s way of doing things is the best way and that our only expectation is in the Christ who was crucified; our only hope is to walk as men who have died in Christ.
But though this Season offers us a sober look at who we are and how we are to walk, we must never forget that our deaths in Christ is followed by our being raised with Him. Though we do not walk boastfully, we walk hopeful that the Christ who died has begun to make all things right at his resurrection and will continue to right the wrongs of this world until it is all made new.
As Pastor Rich Lusk observes:
But having already died in Christ, we can approach our bodily death with hope, knowing that while death remains a foe, it is a defeated foe, and now serves our ultimate good. Death has defeated death, so, dying we live.
give us such a vision of your purpose
and such an assurance of your love and power,
that we may ever hold fast the hope
which is in Jesus Christ our Lord
who is alive with with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.
We will be singing this beautiful Lenten hymn this Sunday at Providence. Here is my brief recording of it.
Stricken, Smitten, Afflicted
Stricken, smitten, and afflicted,
See Him dying on the tree!
‘Tis the Christ by man rejected;
Yes, my soul, ’tis He, ’tis He!
‘Tis the long expected prophet,
David’s Son, yet David’s Lord;
By His Son, God now has spoken:
‘Tis the true and faithful Word.
Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning,
Was there ever grief like His?
Friends through fear His cause disowning,
Foes insulting His distress:
Many hands were raised to wound Him,
None would interpose to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced Him,
Was the stroke that Justice gave.
Ye who think of sin but lightly,
Nor suppose the evil great,
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the Sacrifice appointed!
See Who bears the awful load!
‘Tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed,
Son of Man, and Son of God.
Here we have a firm foundation,
Here the refuge of the lost.
Christ’s the Rock of our salvation,
His the Name of which we boast.
Lamb of God for sinners wounded!
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on Him their hope have built.