Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday Thoughts On What Looks to Be a Bad Weekend

A repost from the archives... last year at this time I was in Cairo walking the Lenten path to Easter with a group of students on a trip for Model United Nations. This year we are home and tomorrow is the Memorial Service for our dear friend's son who died here just a few weeks ago.

Today I stand in a land where nearly three thousand years ago a bruised and battered nation saw a miraculous deliverance out of a dark and brutal enslavement and into the shining glory of freedom. I walk on sand and look up at a sky that could have seen the same footsteps and felt the gaze of another Foreigner who came to  live and walk among us.

Yesterday was the first of four conference days we came all the way to Cairo to take part in. That means for now, the sightseeing is on hold. The issues being discussed at this conference by hundreds of high schoolers from all over the world are swirling around in my head as I also try to reflect on the significance of today... it is Palm Sunday, the first day of the final week leading up to Easter.

The moon has risen warm and bright, full and luminous like  a freshwater pearl dropped kerplunk in the middle of the deep midnight sky. It is a vivid reminder of the truth that surrounds me: the world is very dark. There is beauty there, the remnants and glimspes of it so wonderful that sometimes you can almost forget the burden of pain that we all live under. But in spite of all that reminds us of joy, we don't escape the reality that this world, and each of our lives, are shadowed, darkened, marred by all that destroys what we long and hope for in life.

I sit in a city full of people living in buildings that are crumbling, crusted with dirt and surrounded by piles of  trash and refuse from its inhabitants. I sit in a lavish hotel with marble floors and bath towels the size of my living room and listen to passionate debates about issues like genocide, human trafficking, violations of treaties, civil wars, and thre rise of nuclear powers. I see the effects of poverty, corruption and human fallenness all around me. The cries for collaboration, peace, and mutual consideration seem to fall dead and silent on the floors of high walled conference rooms. They are necessary talks, but will they truly bring about the "hope for a better tomorrow" that these youth dream of?

As I return every day to the comfort of my hotel room and look out onto the scene of depravation and struggle, knowing its sorrow is known to millions of people in every nation on earth, the darkness can seem to close in. I listen to the heartwrenching issues and feel overwhelmed, hating the small feeling of problems so large and the heavy burden of my small, protected life. It is easy to look out and ask, "Where is He?"

He was here. He came into the darkness but the darkness has not understood it. Nevertheless, He came still. He entered our darkness and broke its power over us. Some can see it  and believe, others cannot or have not. It is a thing of faith- for we are faith creatures. But it will not always be this way.
This is the beauty of the Easter preparation, of enjoying the season of Lent as it leads you through the Word and gives you time to think about all that this great moment in history, the Resurrection, means for us. The world can seem so dark to me, but the Light of the World stepped down into darkness, and madea way for us to be free. This Friday we will remember the darkness that Jesus friends and followers felt as all they had believed and hoped for seemed buried and dead with the broken body in the grave. But in the early light of a Sunday sunrise, the light of Truth will remind us again that though all seems lost, we know for certain who is Victorious, and who is working even now in the midst of all that still remains broken. He is making things new, and He will make all things new when the time is right.

Tomorrow we head back to the conference rooms and delegation proceedings. It will be Monday and the streets outside will be the same as they were today. But I know whom I have believed and I am persuaded that He is able... because He was stronger than the grave, and the death that could not hold him.

May you rejoice in the Light that came, comes, and is coming into your darkness!

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