As those of us in the Christian faith travel through Lent we are bid to remember and meditate on the Love that God gave to the world. Today on Palm Sunday and through Holy Week, we are to reflect on the meaning of giving up a life for another person. A single life for the life of the whole world.
I think for many of us it is so hard to comprehend the magnitude of a gift like that. What was that like for Jesus to knowingly, not just just spur of the moment,go step by step toward death toward pain towards sacrifice? What was that like as a mother to see her child, special as he was, walk down the path chosen for him? And for a father? In Christian tradition it is God that is the father of Jesus. Try to imagine how the step father felt. Joseph could have no more loved Jesus if he were his own.
My husband and I were talking to a friend a few weeks ago. This friend of ours had an organ transplant not so long ago. About a year now. He said that when the testing came back and the donor was a conclusive match and that the following day he would be given a chance at life that for sometime he had lost that the emotion was overwhelming. The thought that someone had died and because of that he would have a new life was so overwhelming that he broke down in tears. On another level the donor was not just a donor to him but for others as well. The nurses and doctors recognize the odds and miraculousness of that. The nurse told him straight out that this was a miracle. He didn’t need a nurse to tell him that though. Even in the retelling of his experience you could see how deeply it affects his life.
The donor that provided the tissue to our friend made a choice, knowingly, to donate and help the lives of others if he should die. As a parent while I am looking at my children happy healthy and in one piece I can’t imagine the feeling that the donors family must have felt. In imagining their childs body being taken apart to give life to others. A wonderful beautiful selfless act of love. Giving of one’s self is something that any parent would be proud of their child for. But at the cost of pain. It had to be torture to be pulled between gratitude and pain. So suddenly.
To be the recipient of such an amazing gift, that the very magnitude of it causes emotions that the body can not contain, is something to meditate on. That is the depth to which we are to understand what Easter is about. We are asked to understand a depth that most of us can not fathom experiencing. I know that in our friends description and the emotions that went with it that my understanding of it is so small.
That God so loved the world he gave his only son so that we could live. The bigger concept here is about Faith. Complete and total conviction of Faith. The human aspects of emotion that a person giving their life for the greater good of mankind would feel would have to have been outweighed by the complete faith that this was the right thing to do. The faith that He knew to be true, not just contemplated but knew in His very being. That it was that it was only the beginning of new life. That birth whether into the next life or into a life we have now is as it has been since the beginning a painful experience.
Would you give your life? Knowingly? Almost all of us who are parents have the instinct to save our child. If they fell in a river we would dive in after them. If they were in a burning house we would go in after them to save them. Not thinking oh I might die. Just on instinct. What Easter is about is not that kind of emergency situation. It is about knowingly walking into a situation where death is eminent and saving someone else. Those that have gone off to battle in war, know that feeling. Firefighters know that feeling. Most times though, even with those jobs it is a might and they don’t walk in knowing.
To know that someone had to die to save your life or for your life to come back to complete fullness is an overwhelming feeling. Knowing that someone chose to die for that same purpose spiritually is really something we should meditate on and cultivate thought toward. They aren’t the same thing. As overwhelming as the emotions of receiving a donor organ is how much more should we understand spiritually the gift of eternal life? So as we travel down our spiritual path during Holy Week I will be taking some time to meditate on the absolute powerfulness, awesomeness of the gift we have been given. What about you?
©Adrienne McLeod 2011