This past weekend, Chuck and I joined some of our relatives for a lovely evening enjoying the famous English composer, choral conductor, editor, arranger and record producer John Rutter as he conducted Chicagoland's beloved St. Charles Singers (along with The Metropolis Chamber Orchestra) for a beautiful evening of English Choral Music. We landed the much sought after tickets from my cousin (Ingrid) who is a soprano in the group and invited us to enjoy her most anticipated performance of the season.
When all was said and done, it was indeed an exquisite concert. The voices of the choir sounded absolutely angelic. (Way to go, Ingrid!) The accompaniment of the orchestra collectively complimented the choir with a fluid melodic responsiveness. The conductor... well, he is one of the best conductors in the business. So, yeah - he was good too. (Ha ha.) Overall, the evening was a smashing success and appropriately situated in a stunning chapel in the Chicagoland area.
Since the event took place in a church, it was breathtaking to gaze upon the adorned Christian-themed walls and gorgeous stained glass windows while listening to such a fantastic score. Positioned above the choir in the front of the church was a life-sized crucifix portraying a tortured Jesus on the cross. At first, I was uncomfortable looking at an image of my Lord in such a painful state. But then I started to really consider the torment He suffered on my behalf.
I turned and whispered in Chuck's ear, "Honey, why wouldn't Jesus' hands have rip through the nails causing Him to fall off the cross? Wouldn't gravity take it's toll and ultimately tear Him down?" Chuck (my engineering-minded husband) quietly explained the mechanics of how the nails would have been driven deeply into the Savior's wrists, and likely positioned between His muscle tendons which would have definitely secured Him to the wood He was painfully attached to. After finishing his explanation, Chuck put his arm around me and returned his focus to the concert. But I could not focus on anything other than the image of my Jesus before me. I held my own wrist tightly while wondering how difficult it would have been for Christ to deal with the pull of His own body weight working against Him... with the agony of watching His own human veins hemorrhage blood uncontrollably.
While the heavenly music of the concert swelled to all corners of the chapel, all I could think about was the pain my Master had faced... the torture and cruelty He took upon Himself... the sacrifice of death He endured. Needless to say, my eyes quickly filled up with tears.
Then, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the power of God's love. He reminded me of the glorious music my Savior had already experienced first hand in the goodness of His Father's presence. Music that was infinitely better than the magnificent concert I was attending! (Was that possible? WOW!) He painted a picture in my mind of the celestial chorus that echos through the halls of Heaven acknowledging the One Name above all other names! "Holy holy holy!" Can you hear them singing even now? "Who was, and is, and is to come." Can you cover your eyes and enjoy the resounding blessing of His eternal love?
The Holiest of all humbled Himself and left His throne to become a simple man... for me. Thirty-three years later, He was horribly murdered and died on a cross sin-free... on my behalf. Three days after that, He overcame the depths of death and the confines of Hell... paying the full ransom for my soul and insuring me the opportunity to one day join in the joyous festivities and sing alongside the same heavenly hosts worshipping the sovereign throne of a perfect Maker. Today, He lives so that I may live forever in His grace! "Holy holy holy!"
My blessed and beloved Jesus did not make His priority the momentary pleasures or pain of this world. No, not even the horror of death on a cross could redirect His mission. He accepted the torment. He embraced the nails and the suffering. Why? Because His vision had a bigger, better focus. His eyes were fixated on the will of His Almighty Father - a Father whose eyes are continually locked deeply in love with us! Yes, Jesus died on that terrible cross to save us from a terrible fate. Why? Because He loves us MORE. He overcame the highest, the lowest, the deepest, and the widest obstacles for our benefit. And today, nothing can ever separate us from His love! He lives so that those who seek after Him may also sing and rejoice and find joy and see peace FOREVER! The universe cannot help but bow down to such a God. Death cannot put out His light or extinguish His chorus. No, Jesus is alive forever, and He is faithfully ours! "Holy holy holy!" Let the corners of this earth rejoice in His Name!
This weekend the Spirit used a delightful event as a means to showcase the divine example of our Messiah. He reminded me (and now you) that His love is powerful enough to overcome the gravity of this earth. Nothing can tear us away from the mercy found at the foot of His cross. Nothing can change the blood that He bled in order to save us. Because of His unfathomable love for us, we can securely receive His perfect sacrifice. We can lived redeemed because of His graciousness. "Holy holy holy!" Will you receive His gift of new life? Will you focus your eyes only on His will... His way?
I encourage you to make Jesus your focus today and every day. Lock your eyes deeply in His love and choose His holiness over your own earthly happiness. For in truth, there is no eternal joy without His presence alongside us. There is no peace without His nail-driven hands holding our own. There is no song to sing without the glory of His Headship directing our paths. So, conduct yourself righteously for His Name's sake.
This is the day to rejoice and be glad... for Jesus loves us, this I do know! This is the day to make our voice His voice... to make our love His love... to make our life His life! Will you give Him all glory and honor? Will you make your only mission about the One whose throne is worthy of infinite song?
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." (Revelation 4:8b)
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