Paid In Full

During an audition for a play, two men were competing for the main role. It was decided the role would be given to the man who could best recite Psalm 23. One man was an accomplished actor, taking the role to add to his growing list of leading roles in other productions. The other was an older gentleman, who had very little acting experience.

The polished actor took stage and eloquently recited the verse. The audience applauded as he left the stage, certain he would be given the part.

As the older man took the stage, he recited Psalm 23 with many stammerings. However, as he read the passage, his eyes filled with tearful conviction with every verse. By the time he finished, there wasn’t a dry eye in the audience.

The old man was given the part.

The seasoned actor was asked why he thought the part wasn’t given to him. He replied:

“I knew the words, but that man knew the shepherd.”

This week, I pondered the life of Jesus and the act of His crucifixion. Even as somebody who has spent over two decades of my life in the church, it didn’t resonate with me until this year.

 

My understanding has deepened as I see the heart of a loving God begin to take shape. Previously, I wrote that you begin to see the heart of others only when you listen to them. I’ve begun to understand more about myself and others the less I talk.

I gained a new perspective on the heart of God this week, as I watched The Passion of the Christ. I hadn’t seen the movie since my years in XA at Ohio State. During that time, I remember not being fully convinced – in my heart and mind – of what it really meant for Jesus to die.

Without compassion, it’s very easy to lash out at others…or fail to understand their motives behind their actions. In The 25th Hour, Edward Norton minimizes the sacrifice Jesus went through –

“…a day on the cross a weekend in hell, and all the hallelujahs of the legion’d angels of eternity – try seven years in Otisville, J.

I, too, had a hard time understanding the price of the sacrifice Jesus made, until last night.

This year, I have been fanning and massaging my family of friends. The fan comes out when we dance, and the massages are a staple part of our weekends. Often, somebody will ask to borrow my fan and try it out. They usually stop after a few minutes and hand it back to me.

Somebody recently asked how I am able to fan for hours without my hands hurting. “They do.” I replied, and showed her the blisters in each of my palms that accumulate from the fans.

Last night, I massaged several of my friends at Azar’s, and my hands began to cramp, to the point where I had to take breaks between the massages. A full day of fanning/massaging takes a toll.

I felt somewhat defeated as I walked to the patio, thinking “I wish I could have done more.” and was very frustrated with the freezing pain in my hands.

Then, my good friend, Ali, sat down in front of me. And it was in that moment that the sacrifice of Jesus came very clearly to me. See, Ali has the kind of muscles that need deep rubbing in order to be limber. Being the last massage of the day, it was the most painful one that I gave, yet when it was finished, he was renewed and invigorated. My work was done.

Thinking back to The Passion, I saw a new side of God. I understood what it means to want to push through the pain so that your loved ones can experience relief.  The sacrifice on the cross is the perfect example of this. And now my mind, heart, and hands have accepted what was done on that day.

PAID IN FULL.

 

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