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What do you make of Truth? – Good Friday Reflection & Resources

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Welcome tribe! I asked our resident theologian John Perrine to share a reflection on Good Friday. John explores the weight of Good Friday and invites us to ponder Pilate’s often forgotten question, “What is truth?”


 

 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

Today is the day that the world stopped, where things went bad before they could become good. The skies darkened, the veil was torn, his body was pierced, the divide between heaven and earth collided in the death of the king who was the Son of God, who was in fact God himself, come to offer up himself, in forgiveness, mercy and love for even us who knew not what we did as we scorned and mocked him. This is that dark and mysterious day that we call good, and that we both mourn and celebrate as our Lord Jesus, the savior of the world, was put into the ground.

A few mere hours before the great euchatastrophe of the world was to take place, the man who represented the kingdom of the world had an exchange with the man who represented the kingdom of heaven concerning the question we long to answer; “What is truth?” Now in order to understand the significance of this exchange, let’s talk for a moment about kings and kingdoms. In the days of Jesus, the great powers ruled the world; Rome and Caesar, the senate and the coin, the Pilate’s and the priests. We really aren’t much different in this day and age. Be it Washington or Hollywood, the corporate office or the political party, the latest diet or the newest phone, the powers that be have a way of sticking around, consuming and controlling the swells and tides of our lives. And the powers that be, both today and in Pilate’s time leave us wondering, along with Pilate, “What is truth?”

So when Pilate enters the room, he brings with him all of those powers and politics to confront a small, seemingly insignificant man, a mere countryside teacher who has been causing the slightest of stirs. His first question wants to know if this Jesus is in fact a threat, a challenge to his rulers by claiming to be a “king of the Jews”.

Of course, as most learned who asked a question of Jesus, he received a question in reply, “Where did you learn this? Who told you who I was?”

Pilate waves this away, “Don’t expect me to understand you particular Jews, you must have done something wrong or you wouldn’t be here.”

Jesus’ answer in reply is both revealing and deeply incriminating. His kingdom doesn’t come from this world. In the book of John, the “world” is associated with evil and rebellion against God. The kingdom of Jesus however does not originate in this world, it has a different quality, a different source. In fact, Jesus points out his kingdom has been one of truth, a truth which he has brought, a truth which his followers have heard.

Pilate, of course, can only see things from a this-worldly perspective. As far as he knows, the only place you get truth is out of the sheath of a sword (or, as we would say, out of the barrel of a gun). Political ‘truth’ can so often be my truth against your truth, my sword against your sword, with those two meaning much the same thing. And ultimately, for a Roman governor, my truth against your truth, my power against your weakness, my cross to hang your naked body on. Ah, but that’s the truth. The truth that belongs with Passover. The truth that says one man dies and the others go free. Barabbas, the brigand, perhaps himself either a would-be king or a supporter of someone else’s failed messianic movement, faces the gallows as well. Somehow, through the cynicism, the casual local custom, the misunderstandings, the distortions, the plots and schemes and betrayals and denials, the Truth stands there in person, taking the death that would otherwise have fallen on the brigand.

Pilate didn’t see it at the time, the irony that his kingdom left him still unable to discern truth when it stood before him. But John wants us to see it today, in the midst of the clamoring powers of day that demand our attention and offer us no reply. This is what the cross will mean. This is what truth is and does. Truth is what Jesus is; and Jesus is dying for Barabbas, and for Israel, and for the world.

And for you and me.

Grace and Peace to you on this Good Friday,

John and the Practice team

 

Recommended Resources

Don’t forget to check out our reflections and introduction to the Stations of the Cross this Good Friday here on the blog. Here are a few other resources for you to pour through and enjoy!

Holy Week Resources

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We’re continuing to share resources throughout the beautiful journey of Holy Week. Enjoy and explore today’s recommended article, sermon and visual liturgy to aid you in your worship this Holy Week.

I was speaking with a friend today who encouraged me to make this extraordinary week of preparation for Easter extraordinary in my own life through my worship and practices. How amazing to realize just how extraordinary and momentous this week has always been in the life of the church – and what a privilege to celebrate it freely and joyfully! However you feel led this Holy week, may you find ways to make this extraordinary week extraordinary in your life.

Grace and Peace to you!

Jenna and The Practice Team

 

 

Recommended Resources

The King We Needed, But Never Wanted  by Marshall Segal on Desiring God

Check out this challenging article that explores the call to Calvary – to follow Jesus so that we may die, and rise again!

“To truly live, we must surrender to the King we really needed, not the one we might have imagined for ourselves.” – Marshall Segal

The Crucifixion by Tim Keller

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus howled this agonized cry ast his execution. How could any good come from such a seemingly horrible end? Check out this sermon in which Tim Keller ponders the depths of what is surely most horrible, yet most wonderful question ever asked.

Leaving Ourselves at the Altar by The Work of The People

Over the past months we’ve recommended a variety of visual liturgies created by our talented friends over at TWOTP – check out this beautiful visual liturgy of “An Easter Benediction” by Kelly Ann Hall

Practice Resources: Dying to Self

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This past Sunday, John Perrine led us into the difficult Lenten theme of Dying to Self. Be sure to read all about it here.

This journey of dying to self has been fraught with a lot of unhelpful teaching for most of us. For some of us the invitation to die to self has been a shaming command to kill all our desires. For others, we don’t know what to die to and what to nourish. It is a difficult but deeply important part of our spiritual formation, so no matter where you are in the journey remember –  you are not alone, let’s keep pressing on together.

We’ve gathered a helpful jumble of websites, online articles, books and videos to help you better explore the journey of dying to self. If you read one thing today I hope it’s Lynne Hybel’s article on what do we die to. I found it immensely helpful this Lenten season.

Happy Reading!
Peace and comfort to all of you,

Jenna and The Practice Team

Resources

Here are some excellent web articles worth exploring as you ponder Dying to Self

 

It should come as no surprise that our beloved Matriarch has indeed explored and wrestled well with this concept of dying to self. In this helpful blog post, Lynne shares her story of dying to self and explores the helpful distinction between what needs to die and what needs to live.

We love Pete Scazzero and the good work he and his team are doing over at Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. By clicking this link you’ll be taken to a wealth of resources that help you to identify the false self – the self we need to die to! There is a great mix of sermons, articles and exercises to help you on your journey.

The Just Life is a Chicago based non-profit that partners with churches to communicate God’s heart for Justice. As they explore where the heart of just comes from, check out this helpful collection of Scripture passages on dying to self and a beautiful prayer litany on humility.

Inherent in a discussion on Dying to Self, is growing in your own self insight and awareness. If you don’t know yourself and haven’t explored inward, how can you begin the process of identifying the old and the new self? Philosophy father Socrates once shared, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” The sentiment of self reflection is important, in doing so we identify sinfulness, truth, growth and weakness. Here are some recommended resources to help you in the process of knowing yourself well, so that you can put off the old and put on the new self:

 

This book should be a cornerstone in your spiritual reading. It encourages and provides wonderful insight into knowing the true self.

As a lover of psychology and counseling – I just have to recommend this great read that essentially explores the neuroscience of sin. So helpful for the journey of dying to self – especially Chapter 12 “The Repair of Resurrection” p.221-234.

No one has modeled a life of sacrifice in this Western culture and day and age, more humbly or beautifully than Shane Claiborne. This exploration of how to be an ‘ordinary radical’ were some of the first ideas that truly challenged my journey of dying that I may truly live. A must read.

  • Click here to watch this short video by Dallas Willard is entitled, “The Cost to Follow Jesus” taken from his series ‘What Jesus said about following him.’Dallas Willard is a giant in Spiritual Formation literature and explores with great insight and wisdom how we are to weigh the cost of following Christ.
Communion Table

Practice Resources: The Examen

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This past Sunday we took a wonderful dive into the season of Lent with Father Michael as he led us through the transformative practice of The Examen. We wanted to share these resources with the community so that you could go deeper in your own learning and so that you could share with others this wonderful tool for spiritual formation.

 

Resources

An excellent place to explore and learn more about the practice of The Examen is through the wonderful resources provided through the website www.ignatianspirituality.com

If you click here you’ll be taken to their extensive web page all about The Examen including helpful resources such as:

  • What is The Examen?
  • How you can make The Examen part of your day
  • Videos, Audio files and articles
  • Reflections on practicing The Examen
Of course we have to recommend the incredible resource that we shared with all of you last Sunday night created by our very own Aaron Niequist. His most recent creative project ‘A New Liturgy No 6: The Examen’ could not have come at a more crucial time to our community this Lenten Season!

 

Aaron has created a beautiful recording of Fr Michael guiding us through The Examen – just as we’ve experienced at The Practice. His New Liturgy includes a stunning musical score and three original songs that truly immerse you in the experience of The Examen, connecting us to God in a deep and daily way. For those of you who were there last Sunday, it was a joy to put one of these in your hands, but if you want to order another, recommend it to a friend or if you couldn’t make it and you don’t want to miss out – be sure to check it out at the New Liturgy website here.

Here is a taste for those of you who are new to Aaron’s work through A New Liturgy

The fabulous ministry 24-7 Prayer are also using The Examen to explore Lent this season (check it out here). You have to check out their beautiful weekly video podcasts and companion guides that explore daily scriptures, further teaching, discussion points and challenges to transform lessons learned from The Examen into action. Their videos are released every Monday and can be found on their YoutubeFacebook and Twitter pages or can be downloaded straight to your phone, laptop or tablet by subscribing via iTunes.