Good Friday, the most somber and dark day of the passion. Gone are the parties of the triumphal enter to the city. Done are the celebrations of the Passover. Now we come face to face with the beautiful brutality of the journey of Jesus through the cross. For the account according to Mark go to, Mark 15:16-41.
There is so much to look at in this passage, and none of it to be overlooked. This morning as I prayed my way through the passage what kept calling my attention was the curtain in the Temple. Jesus spent so much of his ministry with people engaging those who were considered separated from God. The Biblical writers use creative terms, notorious sinners, people of ill repute. Also there is a more direct term, sinners. It seems to me religions works to separate the good people from the bad people, the saints from the sinners. Further there appears to be an intentional system of saying only certain people may enter into the presence of God. This is much like the world Jesus was crucified in.
The writer of Mark is sure to highlight the tearing of the curtain. There is no longer a separation of the Holy and the people. No longer will access be denied excepting only a certain few. God is the God of all people and Jesus death opened the door, or curtain as it were, so that all might once again draw near to God. There was no need for the High Priest to enter the Holy Place for you, we may enter in through Christ alone.
While there are plenty of people who think the have it all together, and that others should be more like them in this thing called the church, I find there are more people who live as though there is still a curtain between us and God. Constantly I am finding people that think their access to God is limited because of their sin, or their life or whatever other reason given. Usually the conversation is one of worthiness, people do not feel worthy of the Holiness of God. In one regard that is correct, we are not worthy on our own. In another regard, the curtain being torn as Jesus dies means that through Jesus we are worthy.
I will go as far to say when we live anything less that the full access to God we are dishonoring the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For us to go around living as though there is a separation is like telling Jesus thanks for dying for me and all but it really didn't matter.
Currently I am coming across more and more people who are discouraged by the circumstances of life. Things are not the way they thought they would be so they begin to mope their way through life. As I read once again about the curtain being torn top to bottom I find there is no reason to mope. We have every reason to give thanks because we have direct access to God. The grace of God is fully available no matter what our life circumstance is. Somewhere along the line we in America began to think everything should be easy and work out just as we want it to. There is no Scriptural evidence to support that claim. What we do have evidence of is a God who meets us right where we are at and loves us in that place. The only barrier between us and God are the ones that we build.
So, I don't know if you need to get your scissors out, or if you have the strength in your hands, but it is time to tear the curtains we have made between us and God. Through the death of Jesus God removed the curtain from that side of things, now it is our turn. This will mean the confession of sin, repentance, and setting our lives on a new course. The death of Jesus while gruesome and painful to think about, is not the end of the story. The curtain was not torn so that we could focus on the death in our midst. All of it is to put to death that which keeps us from God. Then we are given the resurrection so that we may live, not mope.