I always wanted to ski. On snow that is since I can’t swim. Looks like such fun sooshing down newly groomed slopes of fresh powder. Bobbing and weaving past evergreen trees. Jumping moguls. Only problem is that I’m petrified of heights. No problem going down but the other raises immediate issues! Since I can’t fly, I try the chair lift.
Oy vey! I didn’t know my fears could rise higher than where this infernal moving bench is going. An instructor advises me to persist as the phobia will eventually disappear. Yea, right. Liar, liar, pants…
Only gets worse. Sashaying onto the lift is easy, but elevating skis and timing my exit, as the chair keeps going, is way too complicated. Off I slide, down on all fours! Skinned hands with skis stuck in the packed ice and snow. Lift stops with other skiers dangling in the frosty air. I’m never so popular.
I immediately notice that it feels mighty cold in my nether regions. Falling was one thing but ripping the entire back of my ski pants ushers in a cold snap where least wanted. An ill wind blows for sure.
On a much more serious note, Jesus talks about ripping garments and bursting wineskins. In Mark 2, He points out that the newness He brings will not work within worn-out garments and brittle wineskins, symbolic of stifling religious rituals. His new rips apart the old. No patches allowed. Religious rigidity won’t work. Never has, never will. It’s the supple heart He looks for.
Garments rip when Jesus appears before the high priest Caiaphas in Mark 14. When Jesus affirms that He’ll be seen sitting at the right hand of God and coming again in judgement and glory, Caiaphas no longer tolerates such blasphemy. Mark 14:63–‘The high priest tore his clothes’.
Wine sacks burst open, the high priest’s clothing tears, but even more happens in the Temple when Jesus dies. The heavy curtain, which separates off the Holy of Holies, reminds all that God detaches Himself from sinful people. Division rules. ‘Keep Out’ signs will be obeyed, until Jesus dies and that heavy curtain is torn from its top all the way down to the bottom. Ripped apart. As if by God’s own hands.
And a new welcome sign goes up. The porch light stays on. Back door unlocked. Welcome home, my child!
Thank you, Jesus, for tearing sin from our lives. Amen.