Category Archives: thief on the cross

It’s not over

sculpture by Lynne Kiefer Kobylecky, who has dedicated his life to creating art focused on Jesus.

Jesus was crucified, hung between two criminals. One hurled abuse at Jesus but the other rebuked him saying “We are suffering justly but this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he turned to Jesus and said “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom!” and Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with me in Paradise.” – the gospel of Luke

We’ve done a couple of Jonny Lang tunes in the past – our favourite is “I Believe”, a rockin’ gospel tune that’s a declaration of faith. His 5th studio album, Turn Around, is his possibly his most overtly Christian album. His goal was to focus “more than ever before, on my purpose in life… It wasn’t so long ago that I was spiraling downward until God touched my life and se time on the right track.” He recognizes that not everyone believes the same as he does and the album isn’t meant to be preachy, it’s just an honest reflection of his own life’s experiences and a way for him to encourage others.

Perhaps the most encouraging song on the album is It’s Not Over.

 This one’s for the prostitute
The drug abused, homeless and destitute
And anybody wanting to be rescued
There’s still time

Yeah, this is for the orphan who is all alone
All he wants is to have a home
Your earthly father may have left you
But your Heavenly Father told me to tell you

It’s not over
It’s not over
There’s still time

Someone loves you….

Musically, it’s classic Lang: rockin’ guitar, great gospel choir, tons of energy. Lyrically you can tell it’s coming from his heart. When I think about the kids supported by Cyrus Centre, who are often kids that are rejected by their own families or who feel friendless and desperate, I am grateful that Cyrus Centre exists because I am sure this is a message they hear.

Cyrus Centre does everything it can, not only to support the youth who come into their care but to restore family relationships whenever possible. Their work deserves your support. If you were hoping to come to a Good Friday Blues service this year, you would have spent $10 for a couple of tickets. We’re unable to do these services this year, but you can take those $10 and give them directly to Cyrus Centre. If you can give $100 or a $1000, do it.  Because of the generosity of a wonderful donor couple, all donations no matter how big or small will be matched up to $3000, So tell a kid at Cyrus Centre that it’s not over, that they have a home, that someone loves them. Get the details on how to give on our Services Info Page.

 

 

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Someday

 

Golgotha, by Scottish artist David Mach.

Golgotha, by Scottish artist David Mach.

Someday, I will go home

Someday I will go home
And I’ll find peace in the house
Of my heavenly father
I will fear, fear no more

 

Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom – thief on the cross, Luke 23:42

I’ve sometimes wondered what I would do if I was on death row and facing execution. Would I be terrified? Resigned to my fate? Would I beg for mercy until the bitter end or just try to be dignified about it all? Assuming that I was actually guilty of something heinous enough to merit execution, I think I’d probably be terrified but also resigned. Hopefully I’ll never know.

Pondering execution today and reflecting on execution in Jesus’ day, I realize that there’s actually no comparison. As terrifying as it may be to go to the electric chair, I don’t think it compares to crucifixion. You’re not only assured of your death, but you’re assured that it’s going to be excruciatingly painful, unbearably slow and on top of everything else, utterly humiliating. Crucifixion is holistic death: body, mind and soul.

Given all of that, consider the two thieves on the cross. One is described as hurling insults at him: Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us! (It actually sounds more to me like a final desperate plea rather than a sarcastic insult). The other seems to have accepted his fate and actually has the wherewithal to admonish his fellow criminal: Don’t you fear God? We deserve this shit, but this man has done nothing wrong.

Not only does he recognize his guilt and accept his punishment, he can actually see that Jesus is innocent. How did he know that? And not only that, he also recognizes that Jesus is more than a mere innocent man – remember me when you come into your kingdom – he sees Jesus for who he really is: the King. Jesus responds with a gift: I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise. It occurs to me that Jesus’ response to this man must have changed the outlook of the thief’s death. If he did not have peace of body, perhaps he had peace of mind and soul.

I know down in my heart
I know it won’t be long
And I shall see the face
Of my Saviour
I will fear, I will fear
I will fear, pain no more

This song, written by David Hidalgo and Louis Perez of Los Lobos for the movie Love Song for Bobby Long, seems to me to be the song that was in the heart of this penitent thief. He was given the promise of his Saviour, that paradise was coming – soon – and pain would be gone. My prayer is that someday, I too will go home and be able to take the hand of my Saviour and experience a pain-free eternity.

Someday, I will go home
Someday, I will go home
And I shall take the hand
Of my Saviour
I will fear, I will fear
I will fear, pain no more

If you have a moment, visit artist David Mach’s website and watch the short video clip of him burning the devil. very cool.