DayBreaks for 3/12/18 – The Message of the Torn Veil

Image result for the torn veil

DayBreaks for 3/12/18: The Message of the Torn Veil

As I write this, a couple that is very dear to me is traveling in Israel, visiting the “holy” sites and seeing with their own eyes where the incredible stories from the bible took place. I am so excited for them – after having been there twice myself, I am dying to go back – and would do so again and again and again. There is something about being there that truly makes it “alive”. You sense more than ever the price that was paid for your sin, the gratitude for what happened in that holy city reaches a fever pitch. It changes you.

Recently I was reflecting on this passage: Luke 23:44-46 (ESV) – It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.

Having been in Jerusalem, I can picture the sky darkening in mid-day (notice it doesn’t say that clouds were the issue – it says that the “sun’s light faded” – that’s a miraculous occurrence). I have been on top of the temple mount and tried to picture what happened there when the veil was ripped into two (and we are told elsewhere it happened from top to bottom, indicating it wasn’t of human doing).

I have thought before of the significance of that tearing. Because the veil was there to separate the Presence from the people (it covered the entrance to the Most Holy Place where only the high priest was allowed once a year) I always assumed it simply indicated that that which separated God from man, the sin blots on our souls, had been opened so we could have access to God. And I do believe that is true, and certainly part of the meaning. But I think there was more to it, too.

A sign of deep grief for the ancient middle east (and even in some places in the modern age) is the rending, or tearing of one’s garments as a display of the anguish of heart and soul of the one grieving. It’s one thing to see the holy city and imagine the darkness. It’s another thing to see God’s heart being torn in two because of what was happening on the cross – his beloved son dying an unworthy death and of the price being paid for our forgiveness. We often think that grown men don’t cry because they are big and tough. Well, there’s nothing and no one bigger and tougher than God, and yet I think that the tearing of the veil not only represented the opening of access to God through the blood being spilled on Calvary, but also the tearing of God’s heart. The fact that it was torn from top to bottom mimics the way ancients tore their clothes in grief – and in this case, it very clearly means that God was the One who was doing the tearing. 

We don’t often think about the anguish of God. But doesn’t it make sense that if we are anguished by the brokenness in the world and by the death of our beloved friends and relatives, that God was anguished even more than we? He is perfect – in wisdom, knowledge, justice – but he certainly must also be perfect in his emotions like love, compassion, mercy – and even perfect in his grief.

We will never know the pain in the Father’s heart. We could never fathom its depths. Could it be that the sky darkened as the pain multiplied exponentially with every sin laid on the sinless one, until finally God could bear it no longer and the veil torn because of the anguish of God?

PRAYER: We often think of the anguish of Jesus on the cross, Father, but I fear we seldom think of Your anguish as You beheld that scene. May we rend our clothes in anguish over our sin that caused You such pain and turn to You in sackcloth and ashes. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.

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DayBreaks for 5/26/17 – A Proof of the Truth of Love

DayBreaks for 5/26/17: A Proof of the Truth of Love

From the DayBreaks archive, May 2007:

Tears.  Sorrow.  Grief.  Three words that we hope don’t come anywhere near us, for when they do they are always unwelcome visitors.  Would that life were always full of joy, happiness and laughter!  That is, after all, how God intended for life to be, and how it will someday again be for those who love Him! 

In the meantime, we are awaiting that revealing and dawning.  And as the ocean is full of water, so our lives are full of tears.  It doesn’t take much for me to cry.  I am sometimes embarrassed by my readiness to cry, wishing that I were more stoic, that perhaps things didn’t affect me as much.  Those are usually times when I am in a public situation, sometimes in the pulpit, or at the beside of a person in great pain and facing death. 

What can you say to someone who is crushed, broken hearted by loss or some great sorrow?  I know I struggle to find words.  They do, too.  They may be crying, and yet they still seem to be able to say, “I’m sorry for crying.”  I usually am quick to assure them that tears are not bad.  Jesus cried.  And I tell them that tears are a part of the language of love, for if we did not love, we would not weep with loss.

I found it interesting that my oldest son, Doug, was reflecting on this the other day in his blog, when he wrote: “Perhaps sorrow like this can be a kind of gift, too.  It is at least proof of the truth of love, and hope is never far from love.” (Doug Dalrymple, 5/10/07, The Scrivener)

The sorrow that produces weeping is a gift, for it reveals what is in our hearts, and if nothing else, surely it must be proof of the truth of a love that may have even gone unexpressed in happier times. 

Let your tears flow when you need to cry.  They are part of God’s heart, too.

PRAYER:  Lord, may we join in the weeping that comes from your heart for this broken and bloody world of darkness and loss.  May we weep unashamedly because of the love that you put into our hearts for You and those around us.  And may we also weep for our brokenness.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.

 

DayBreaks for 1/23/14 – She Laughs Now Alfred

DayBreaks for 1/23/14 – She Laughs Now, Alfred           

Revelation 20:13-14 (NLT) – The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. 14  Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire…

Less than one year ago, I spent two months in Africa, learning and experiencing that land and the people who live and suffer there, so that perhaps we might be able to help them and others like them around the world live better lives spiritually and physically. I came to be very good friends with several of those I was with, but the closest is Alfred, from Liberia. Alfred’s last name is Collie, which in Liberian means “leopard.”

Today, Alfred is not feeling like a leopard, but is weeping over the sudden, unexpected death of his 7-year old granddaughter. He is crushed, weeping without ceasing, in deep anguish of heart and mind. Death has taken another victim. I cannot image the grief of a parent who has lost a child, nor that of a grandparent who loses a grandchild. It is too overwhelming to grasp, to deep to understand – and I can barely stand to contemplate it, let alone go through such gut-wrenching agony.

Alfred is not alone in his grief today. Many today are facing the death of a loved one. Estimates range from 150,000-300,000 people die each day around the world. How many tears per day is that? Yet it is Alfred on this day that has my heart and prayers. He is so far away (or is it I who am far away?) in this time of need and I wish with all my heart I could be there to weep with him.

Early in his career, American playwright, Eugene O’Neill, wrote the imaginative play Lazarus Laughed. It’s about Lazarus’s life after Jesus raised him from the dead. Near the beginning of the play, friends are gathering for a banquet in Lazarus’s honor. They are all eager to hear what Lazarus has to say about his experience. As they are being seated, one guest says, “The whole look of his face has changed. He is like a stranger from a far land. There is no longer any sorrow in his eyes. They must have forgotten sorrow in the grave.” Another guest, one who had helped roll the tombstone aside, recalls the scene after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead beautifully:

And then Lazarus knelt and kissed Jesus’ feet, and both of them smiled, and Jesus blessed him and called him “My Brother” and went away. And Lazarus, looking after him, began to laugh softly like a man in love with God. Such a laugh I never heard! It made my ears drunk! It was like wine! And though I was half-dead with fright, I found myself laughing, too.

Death. We don’t even like to say the word. It has a coldness to it, a finality. There is no life in it. I hate it. You hate it. God hates it. And God will destroy it – totally, utterly, and finally. On the day that happens I will praise Him yet anew. And I shall rejoice to see death cast into hell. Then I, Alfred, his granddaughter and all His children, will laugh.  Until then: Comfort, oh comfort my people, says your God. Isaiah 40:1 (MSG)

PRAYER: Father, only You can comfort us in the face of such devastation as death. I pray Your comfort today on my friend, Alfred. Please, Father, send Jesus back soon to crush this terrible enemy forever! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2014 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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