… 39th anniversary …

The day before Good Friday marks the anniversary date in modern history.  Only my Lord knows what today means to me.  I need not to intentionally remember it.

Last night’s dream took me to a far away land and with my hands holding a camera, I captured a few intimate portraits of a few places where my feet long to stand on.  A land where many years ago, millions of people whose worlds were being turned upside down with blood shed and horror.

The vividness of that day brings me back to the essence of the date before our Lord Jesus being nailed to the Cross.  How in the world the disciples could rise above the imminent catastrophy of seeing their beloved Jesus slain before their eyes and faith still stay on course.  The longest 3 days of waiting, 3 days of direction-less and leader-less.

Yet that’s the story of the Cross.  As I read the following, the overwhelmed sweetness of our Lord Jesus’ love serves like a warm blanket over our wounds and hurts

All principalities and powers are arrayed against God.  Satan, the commanding general of the enemy forces, has the whole thing wrapped up.  He has the ultimate weapon, the final solution : Kill Jesus.

The devil has everyone bound over to sin and death.  Long ago, on a cool morning in a sun-dappled garden, Satan made sure of that.  He has been making sure of it ever since.

But there’s this one threat: this carpenter who has been walking around Galilee and Jerusalem.  He has been preaching, healing, touching lepers, confronting hypcrites, telling stories.  Forgiving people their sins.

He must be dealt with, decisively.

Satans’ done a great job so far.  He has covered all the angles.  He has won all the power brokers over to his side.  He has provoked the Romans to action. He has drawn together the warring factions of the Jewish establishment – the Herodians, the Sadducees, the priests, the Pharisees, and that is no small achievement.  He has worked them over well, made them feel betrayed, disappointed, resentful, vengeful.

Everyone agrees: Jesus must go.  All Satan needs is the Man.

And, talk about luck, here He comes, walking straight at them.  Not a weapon on Him.  His silly little army – fishermen, tax collectors, a few old prostitutes – bumble along and soon abandon Him.

He is all alone.  Vulnerable.  Pitiable, almost.  He doesn’t put up any struggle.  Next thing you know, there is Jesus  His body cut and swollen with whip blows.  Next thing you know, the Romans are nailing Him to a Cross, flinging Him up mangled and dangling against a dark sky.

Like a lamb to the slaughter.

Next thing you know, He is dead.

It is finished.

Only, what’s finished? 

Who’s finished? 

Having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the Cross.

The very thing that looked like defeat turned into triumph.

The Cross was the devil’s Trojan horse, the gift he seized that undid him. 

He thought it was his weapon to secure his power.

It turned out to be God’s weapon to destroy it.

“The reason the Son of God appeared,” John declares, “was to destroy the devil’s work.”  John describes the devil’s work as sin’s grip on us, its death grip.  The Cross broke that. It is finished.

The Lamb Wins!!

One day, Christ will return.

Not on a donkey, weeping.

Not on a cross, dying.

But on a stallion, a sword coming from His mouth, conquering as He comes.

On that day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord!

Betwen then and now, the dragon rages, the jackboots hammer, the devil dances.

The victory comes disguised.

Words.  Blood. Wounds.  Clay Jars.  Torchlight.

But rest in this::

He is still on the case, and not one thing anywhere can separate you from His love.

The Lamb Wins!!

As I reflect on the many many Khmer Christians who stood for their faith 39 years ago in front of a gaping pit, I  can sense their urgent faith crawling on my skin ::

baby's cloth

Haim knew that the youthful black-clad Khmer Rouge soldiers now heading across the field were coming this time for him. Leaning weakly against his hoe for support – itself ironically the primary instrument of execution – he watched their easy, menacing, unhurried pace. He was determined that when his turn came, he would die with dignity and without complaint. Since `Liberation` on 17 April 1975, what Cambodian had not considered this day?

Haim`s entire family was rounded up that afternoon. They were `the old dandruff`, `bad
blood`, `enemies of the revolution`, `CIA agents`. They were Christians. The family spent a sleepless night comforting one another and praying for each other as they lay bound together in the dewy grass beneath a stand of friendly trees. Next morning the teenage soldiers returned and led them to the nearby viel somlap, the `killing fields`.

Curious villagers foraging in the bush nearby lingered, half hidden, watching the familiar routine as the family were ordered to dig a large grave for themselves. Then, consenting to Haim`s request for a moment to prepare themselves for death, father, mother and children, hands linked, knelt together around the gaping pit. With loud cries to God, Haim began exhorting both the Khmer Rouge and all those around to repent and believe the gospel.

In panic, one of Haim`s young sons suddenly bolted into the scrub. With amazing coolness, Haim prevailed upon the Khmer Rouge to allow him to go and call the boy back.

`What comparison, my son,` he called out, `Stealing a few more days of life as a fugitive in this wilderness, wretched and alone, to joining your family here momentarily around the grave, but soon around the throne of God, free forever in Paradise?`

After a few tense moments, the lad, weeping, walked slowly back to his place with the kneeling family. `Now we are ready to go,` Haim told the Khmer Rouge.

By this time not a soldier standing there had the heart to raise his hoe on the backs of these noble heads. Ultimately this had to be done by the Khmer Rouge Chief, who had not witnessed these things. But few of those watching doubted that as each of these Christians` bodies toppled silently into the earthen pit which the victims themselves had prepared, their souls soared heavenward to a place prepared by the Lord.


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