In schools... is is common to celebrate the 100th day of school. Today is the 100th day of the year and 100 days of gratitude in the fifth year of this journey.
For me... day one thousand five hundred sixty one. 1,561. Proof that the old saying is true - "The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. Every single day I learn something new through the simple offering of gratitude. Eucharisteo!
Today, I am grateful that there are still new things to celebrate... and some of the once a year repeats become fresh faced in new light. For instance - one year I am grateful that hot water cleans and helps sanitize... at another time, I am simply grateful it wakes me up and washes away an old day. Same item... different gratitude.
On the 100th day of this year, I want to love math, but unlike letters, numbers (for me) seem to get mixed up and out of order. I will drive myself and others crazy making sure I have a phone number, time and date correct on my calendar. Still, in the middle of the befuddling mysteries of the math universe that stump me... there are the tens! Clean, simple and uncomplicated are the tens.
Tens are divisible by 2 and 5... my other favorites.
100 times this year... the sun has risen. Even when we couldn't see it, it was there.
100 times this year... the sun has set, before I close my eyes to sleep.
100 times this year... we have paused.. together... to offer up thanks.
This year... one hundred days into the year... we find ourselves at the beginning of "Holy Week".
On Palm Sunday - Jesus entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, significant because the king who arrives on a donkey comes in peace. They waved palm leaves and sang "Hosanna".
On Monday... what were the people thinking?
The church and civic leaders were feeling threatened and fearful. This man of miracles was causing quite a stir. He was getting hard to ignore. People were drawn to him. They were following him. They were leaving their careers and families to be with him. His message of loving God and loving each other was not the same as other revolutionaries of the day... such as Barabbas. His message was one of serving, caring and forgiving. He was a mystery to those in power. He terrified them as much or perhaps more than Barrabas.
On this day in Holy Week - the officials were dealing with two "Sons of the Father". Jesus... and Barabbas. I just learned this recently. The name Barabbas is composed by “Bar” that means son and “abbas” that means father. He was “son of a father”. Jesus...the son of the Father God... but I did not know that another perfect part of God's plan was that Barabbas would be set free. He would not be put to death for his sins.
Much of government,church sanctioned and Roman, saw both Jesus and Barabbas as insurgents. They were stirring up the people and rocking the norms of society. This from Mark 15:7-
And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas.
Barabbas may have killed in cold hearted murder... or was he defending his cause? He may have... like many in times of government overthrows... taken what did not belong to him for the cause. I don't know... but I do know that was not who Jesus was and is. Jesus raised the dead, healed the lame, cast out demonic spirits and cured the lepers. His peaceful revolution terrified many more than Barabbas' ugly violence, because if Jesus rose to power, where would they be? Jobless? Powerless?
Jesus... guiltless... would die in Barabbas' place. And... in place of all who come to Him... to the foot of the cross... with their sins to be forgiven and spared... they will die to self and be reborn with the cause of Christ upon their shoulders... no longer weighed down by the heavy cross of sin. We are... like Barabbas... set free!
Aren't we all "sons and daughters of of the father"? Aren't we all like Barabbas, set free and Jesus takes our place?
On that day, Pilate to his wife's distress, delivered Jesus over to the "urgent, demanding and loud" will of the people. Government went with what was popular... not with what was right. Imagine that? But, that choice led to the fulfillment of scripture again and again. Prophecy becomes history... again and again.
Wow! Right? All the pieces come together during this Holy Week of events. It is the week that opened the gate for all to become the children of God. By the way... I forgot to asked God for a scripture this morning. They were coming fast to my head without that request. Well... he humbled me once again. This is His choice:
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.-Romans 5:6-8
Love never fails. Love always wins. We can't be "good enough". We have to be loved into the folds of His grace. But...our love must be reciprocal... not all God giving and us taking.
Reciprocal... like in math... where the equation gets balanced. We couldn't pay for our sins in a way to satisfy God's holiness. It is who HE IS. Holy and justice... but merciful. So, He became human. He balanced the equation so that we may become sons and daughters of the Living God... joint heirs with Jesus.
We must return to him with the gift of our hearts... and make our lives a living sacrifice to his will and his way. Does that sound scary? Truly, it is where life really begins, joy takes root and every day has meaning. It's pretty awesome!
Like the journey of 100 or 1,561 days of Gratitude begins with a single step. So, does the journey to the foot of the cross.
One prayer confessing the knowledge that we all... including me.. sin. One prayer acknowledging Jesus as Lord and inviting him to wash away all of our sins and literally balancing the equation. What used to equal death... now equals eternal life. This world no longer holds us down. The cross is our portal. His death and resurrection becomes our victory song.
Today, I am grateful for day 100 in this Holy Week.