Sunday, September 14, 2008


Gasp! One breath – human lungs inhaled life. Moments later a baby’s cry rang through the rafters of that tiny stable. The ancient voice, that once rang through the darkness with that authoritative cry, “LET THERE BE LIGHT,” now shook the foundations of the earth once more.

These were human lungs, pressing air through human vocal chords, giving voice to a divine cry of hope to the souls of all mankind. In that breath the vessel of God’s grace was launched into the sea of human misery. The Messiah had finally come!! Amazingly – few even noticed.

Thousands of years later I stood there looking into the night sky, thinking of that moment. Thick darkness surrounded me, the kind you could feel. The air was heavy with moisture and I knew the rain would begin to fall at any moment.

Flash! A brilliant bolt of lightning tore a crystal blue rip in the darkness. I gasped, startled by the explosion of static energy. Moments later, a low rumble rolled over and around me, building wave upon wave of sound that crescendoed in a deafening clap of thunder. It seemed like the heavens were giving a standing ovation to that flashy show of force and power.

I blinked as a drop of water hit my face. Lost in thought, I had barely noticed that it was raining.
I was thinking about that baby in the manger. Why would a God of lightning and thunder choose such a quiet and lowly way of birthing the single most important moment in history up to that point? That was the Messiah lying there among the cow manure and camel slobber, crying a cry that few even heard!

Several puddles had formed and the raindrops were splashing in them. Small ripples circled the points where each drop hit. That was all they got. A few little circles, gone in a second, were all that marked their brief impact on the world.

A small flower stood there by one of those puddles, still drooping a bit from its fight with the sun. I spoke to its limp form, as if it could hear me. “Hey little fellow, I see you survived the drought. I bet this rain is a welcome sight to you.” The words sparked another flash, this time, one of insight.

That’s it! This was not only a God of thunder and lightning – this was a God of rain. He didn’t come so the world would gasp and applaud – He came so the world, starving to death in the drought of their failure and sin, could tap into the deep well of his love and live!

In that manger, Jesus fell into the ocean of human misery and pain. The small ripples rolling out from that impact grew into waves of mercy flooding over history past and future. A tidal wave of grace overwhelmed all that were caught in its path, but that didn’t happen in that manger. It happened, years later, on a cross.

Gasp! "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" - "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Gasp! “Into your hand I commit my spirit!”
That was his last breath. Then the lightning, thunder, and darkness came. The light was gone.

Matthew 27:51-54 (NIV)
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. [52] The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. [53] They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus' resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
[54] When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!"

Too late! It was too late to undo what they had done. That was a body hanging there on that tree – As dead as the hope going out of them in that moment of dreadful realization.

Years earlier God’s gift to the world had been wrapped in swaddling clothes and wise men had traveled from far and wide to anoint him with the costly spices, francinses and myhr.
Tonight fools would wrap him in linen strips, laced with those same spices, and they would bury their final hope in the ground – once and for all.

Days later, the darkness of that moment still hung thick and heavy over the land. Cold stone covered the opening of that icy hole in the ground. Even the heavenly host looked on in bewilderment at that cold dead body. The empty shell of God’s great plan.

What went wrong? Never before had there been such a dead silence.

And then, the most powerful sound in history ...

Gasp! One breath – Human lungs inhaled life.

1 comment:

katy said...

that was amazing. you write so beautifully and profoundly. it was a welcomed read today. thank you.