Day after day, week upon week, I suddenly am overwhelmed with with the injustice, the bigotry, the killing of seemingly innocent lives. This past week has been so filled with these heinous acts that I just have to stop to remind myself that God is in control. No matter what I wish was the reality all around, these things are not in my control. I can pray, and I do. I can stand up for what I believe to be right, yet I am still not the one in charge. Thus I pray.
Sweet sisters and brothers, I have another post almost ready to go. I have been writing on the silence of the Lamb of God as He was being accused, judged, retaliated upon. Instead, though, am sharing something that is not mine, yet still on the Lord’s silence. This season before Resurrection Sunday, I have been reading a couple of devotional books to remind me of all that Christ has done for me. Words (other than God’s Word) are not enough to focus my heart upon Him but they are reminders, guides, prayers to point me to the One Who changed my life 28 years ago.
From “An Ocean of Grace, A Journey to Easter with Great Voices from the Past,” Tim Chester writes an introduction each day accompanied by the writing of a church father from ancient days, a Christian such as Martin Luther, John Bunyan, Charles Spurgeon, and so many more.
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God,…. 1 Peter 3:18a
Tim Chester says: “A swap has taken place: Jesus takes out judgment and gives us his reward. The 3rd-century church father Cyprian reminds us that we see this great exchange in every aspect of the story of Christ’s passion.” (Mr. Chester changed part of the Treatise IX of Cyprian into a prayer, as I looked up the original.)
even before Your very passion and cross, before they had reached the cruelty of death and the shedding of blood,
what infamies of reproach You patiently heard, what mockings of contempt You suffered.
You had used Your spit to heal a blind man; yet for us You received the spittings of insulters!
In Your name the devil and his angels are beaten; yet for us You suffered beatings!
You crown martyrs with eternal flowers; yet for us You were crowned with thorns.
You give victory palm branches to those who overcome; yet for us You were struck on the face with palms.
You clothe us with immortality; yet for us You were stripped of Your earthly garments.
You give us heavenly food; yet for us You were fed with bitter gall.
You hold the cup of salvation; yet for us You were given vinegar to drink.
You are guiltless, the just One; indeed, You are innocence itself and justice itself, yet for us You were counted among transgressors, and truth is suppressed with false witnesses.
You shall judge; yet for us You were judged;
You are the Word of God; yet for us You were led silently to the slaughter.
When You hung on the cross, the stars were confounded, the elements were disturbed, the earth quaked, night shut out the day, the sun withdrew his rays that He might not be compelled to look upon the crime.
You did not speak, nor did You resist, nor did You declare Your majesty.
To the very end You bore all things with perseverance that in You a full and perfect patience might be consummated.
And after all these things, You still receive Your murderers if they will turn and come to You; and with a saving patience, You close Your Church to no one.
Those adversaries, those blasphemers, those who were enemies of Your name, if they repent of their sin, and acknowledge their crime—You receive them, not only to the pardon of their sin, but to the reward of the heavenly kingdom.
Who can be said to be more patient, more merciful? Even those who shed Your blood and are made alive by that blood—so great is Your patience.
“Christ suffered for us, leaving you an example, that ye should follow His steps, who did no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth; Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, threatened not, but gave Himself up to him that judged Him unjustly.” 1 Peter 2:21-23
Empower us, who have placed ourselves in You by faith, who have clothed ourselves with You, who are on You, the way of salvation; empower us that we may follow Your example. Cyprian (c 200-258)*
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your sacrifices and love, again and again. And more than anything, thank You for taking my sins to the Cross, forgiving me, and guiding my steps. Teach me, show me, guide me, hold me near. For You, I am forever grateful. Please take all the violence, the murders, the crimes against humanity around this world, the lying and cheating, and forgive the cruel perpetrators of their evil ways just as You forgave Your murderers at the Cross. Draw the living victims, their families and friends near to You today, giving them comfort and healing. Forgive us each and all for all that we do and say against You. In Your Precious and Holy Name, I pray. Amen.
Photo: Writings of Cyprian: Archive.org
*Cyprian: “Treatise IX. On the Advantage of Patience,” The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 5, eds. A Roberts & J. Donaldson (Eerdmans, 1979), p 486 with alterations by Tim Chester in Week 3 Sunday, “The Stars were Confounded,” An Ocean of Grace, A Journey to Easter with Great Voices from the Past, Tim Chester (The Good Book Company, 2021)