I've been to a bar mitzvah. Two, in fact. I've discussed and read the Qur'an with Muslim friends. I've even sat through an entire Catholic mass.
I have close friends who are openly, and not so openly, gay. I've had friends whose marriage fell apart, and friends whose marriage was carefully pieced back together over months of patience, forgiveness, and mercy. I listen to the Liberal and Conservative agendas with an open mind, knowing the truth is usually somewhere in the middle. I've heard poor speakers present great truths, and I've heard great speakers preach lies.
I've heard cynics twist, and massage the Truth into something that appeases them and satisfies their needs. I've heard scholars attempt to prove, disprove and alter the meaning of multiple historical religious texts.
I'm good friends with Yankees fans, Patriots fans and Cowboys fans and I even go so far as to tolerate Lakers fans.
If you ask me to have a traditional Passover seder, I'd oblige. If you wanted me to light the Umoja candle on the first day of Kwanza, I'd be honored to be included in your celebration. If I fasted with you for Ramadan we'd both grow in our faith.
Yet if I say, "Would you let me tell you the story of Jesus Christ?" you might shut down. Liar. Hypocrite. Irrelevant. Heard it all before. As though a bad experience with a church, a person, a family member gives cause to render an entire text inaccurate, inapplicable and inane. As though the actions of one, or many, claiming to be Christian does the same.
My point is this. I know people are different. I know lives are different. I know few people have the family that I have, or the friendships I've been blessed by. I know few people have 3 older brothers to lean on, let alone 150 brothers to have grown with throughout college. I know faith does not come easy.
I also know people are broken. In need of a savior. In need of help.
I know that the greatest honor Good Friday gets from most of us is that its listed first, above Earth Day, on our calendars. Yet if we take a second to remember why we celebrate Good Friday, why its on our calendars at all, our perspective on life would change. We celebrate this day to remember a God who came as a man, who taught of love, redemption and healing. Who proved through word and action that he was more than a man, and who took on our sin and faced our punishment that we might not have to. We celebrate this day to remember the sacrifice. The death. And that three days later, he rose.
If you've made it this far in the blog I'm grateful. As a friend, I ask you to consider these truths. If you're willing, listen to this re-telling of the story of Christ's death (you can listen from the website, no downloads). It rocked me to my core. And it's not a sermon, promise. Simply elegant, powerful, and descriptive story-telling.
I think if we're willing to open our minds up past what we already know, and let the world affect us, things that are true will present themselves.
Happy Good Friday!