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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Good Friday, 2010: The MOST Love

A crowded train speeds toward an open drawbridge. No one on board knows the danger. But from a frosty window on that train one troubled young woman witnesses an act of unimaginable sacrifice. What she sees proves to her that love does exist and that changes her life forever.

The film “Most” (the word in Czech means “the bridge”) was shot in the Czech Republic and Poland by producer/writer William Zabka and producer/director Bobby Garabedian. In 2004 “Most” was nominated for an Oscar as best action short. The film tells the story of the tender relationship between a father and his son on the fateful day when the father, a railroad bridge operator, decides to take his son to work with him. When both father and son try to head off a railroad disaster the father must make the most painful choice imaginable. He lowers the bridge to save the train, crushing his only son in the process.

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“Most” depicts a vision of atonement that goes beyond a battle against evil, an example to follow, and a way to mediate vengeance. “Most” depicts salvation as an act of love that carries an incalculable cost. The parable speaks plainly. When God chooses to “crush” his only son, the choice comes not from anger but pain-laden love. The loss bears fruit. Not only are the passengers saved, but a woman lost in despair who observes the man’s sacrifice finds proof that love really exists.  

There’s a cost to saving the world. As I contend in my book, The Karma of Jesus, The Karma has to go somewhere. No magic wand can simply wish it away. Someone has to pay the price. Today, on Good Friday we Christians remember that it’s God who pays the debt he never owed by heaping on Jesus all the sorrow and pain and brokenness of a dying world.

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Hundreds of years before Jesus lived, the Jewish prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 53) wrote about this. Let’s remember by praying this ancient confession of faith in the practical grace of God’s love for us!

There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance,

      nothing to attract us to him.

He was despised and rejected–

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      a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.

We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.

      He was despised, and we did not care.

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;

      it was our sorrows that weighed him down.

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And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,

      a punishment for his own sins!

But he was pierced for our rebellion,

      crushed for our sins.

He was beaten so we could be whole.

      He was whipped so we could be healed.

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