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Friday, 18 April 2014

The Joy Challenge: Good Friday 18th April 2014

Last night, Hamish and I went to see Noah at the cinema and I came away feeling really angry and confused. Forced to confront the judgement of a God who cannot bear what we do to each other and to this world, I came home sad and fearful and thinking about Hell. I slept very little, mulling over the film, frustrated by a distortion of God muddled with moments of truth, and yet as I ran this morning all I could think about was Jesus. Not Aronofsky's capricious, merciless deity, but the one who stands as a lamb that has been slain (Revelation 5:6). In the film, God is silent. Unspeaking. Unmoved by his broken creatures. The Guardian Review puts it this: "There is no literal God here, just haunted actual character would have risked absurdity. But leaving him out, or transforming him into some pantheistically correct concept, is to flinch from the strange, stark mystery of the story itself; a story in which God speaks to humans on what is almost a level playing field. Here, Noah must absorb and ventriloquise God's word: Crowe is effectively playing both Noah and God as a frowning alpha-patriarch hybrid." And yet today - more than most days - we remember that God speaks definitively through his crucified Son. (Hebrew 1:2) Love's definition (1 John 4:10) hanging on a tree thinking of us as He dies, becoming the sin that is entirely contradictory to his nature so that we might be set free from the sin that is a part of ours, becoming a curse for us that we might be liberated from the curse that shackles us. "What does love look like, is the question I've been pondering" - sings Misty Edwards - "but then I saw him there hanging on a tree, looking at me, he was looking at me, looking at Him, staring through me, and I could not escape those beautiful eyes, and I began to weep and weep...He had arms wide open, a heart exposed; arms wide open; He was bleeding, bleeding. Love's definition, love's definition was looking at me, looking at Him, hanging on a tree.This is how I know what love is." Oh, rejoice today, on this good-est of Fridays, that we do not worship a silent God, an unconcerned God, a distant God, but the God who went beyond any length we can imagine to get us back.

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