The morning began as usual.
The only thing that was different was that it was Good Friday. My new job didn’t close on this holiday so off to work I went. I boarded my train, took my seat, and began my normal commute.
We'd just left the first station and were moving nicely when, all of a sudden, the train stopped. Sometimes it did to wait for a signal or something train related. But this time, it stayed stopped. After a minute or so, the conductor made an announcement over the speaker. She simply told us that we are experiencing a delay and would provide an update shortly.
I looked out the window, enjoying the bright morning sunshine, and waited for her update. A minute later it came.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, we are delayed due to a pedestrian accident. There is police activity on the scene. We will report more shortly.”
The phrase that caught my attention was “police activity.” My commuting experience has taught me that ‘police activity’ didn’t just mean someone was hit. Someone was killed. My instincts were validated a few minutes later when she provided another update. She again apologized for the delay and mentioned that the police were conducting an investigation due to a “fatal pedestrian accident.”
I may never know who that person was or what they were doing near the tracks. My mind began to process the facts. How old were they? Were they male or female? What was their family like? They know nothing. I also wondered what they’d feel when they got the call. Moved by these events I did what seemed fitting to me and prayed for a family I may never meet.
Then, my fellow morning commuters did what seemed fitting to them.
“This is going to ruin my whole day!”
“Don't they realize I have things to do?”
“I hate this railroad! They're never on-time. This is the third problem with the trains this week.”
I was amazed by the concert of callousness performed for me, unprepared for an impromptu symphony of the self-absorbed. I wanted to shout, “excuse me but SOMEONE DIED!” I didn’t. Perhaps I shouldn't have been so stunned. I know we all lead busy lives. We fill our schedules with appointments that lean on each other like a house of cards, convinced that if one fell, disaster would follow.
Bottom line is … it won’t. While it’s good to be productive, few of us schedule events that, if they failed to occur or were delayed, would quicken Armageddon. I was surrounded by a complete inability to gain perspective. Everyone was on their cell phones, updating various people. Yet the anger many displayed, edging near fury, just seemed so shallow. Again, I was overtaken by the truth that ‘someone died’ and no one seemed to care.
This brought me back to Good Friday. We know the scenes well. I’m sure the religious leaders of Jesus’ day wanted Him to die, as did the crowd and the Roman soldiers. But I wondered how many passing by that day were simply annoyed. How many saw the events as an interruption in their plans, a hiccup in their scheduled day?
On Good Friday we commemorate the fact that … Someone died. And yet not just anyone but the Son of God. And in His case, it wasn’t simply a ‘fatal pedestrian accident.’ It was His reason for being on Earth. But how many notice … or care? As we go about our planned events, many aimed at remembering the greatest expression of love, are we truly focused on the price He paid for our sin? Or, are we more concerned with whether our plans to commemorate it go off without a hitch?
Just as I prayed for this person’s family that morning, Jesus prayed that day also. ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do’ (Luke 23:34a – NKJV). I admit, I too was more focused on my schedule and plans than on what the day was truly about. Yet, I couldn't escape how sobering this morning scene was and how, especially on that day, it connected me to Calvary.
Someone died! Lord, help me to never casually view the immense price you paid. Help me also not to become so self-centered that I minimize the ability of your sacrifice to add perspective to all I experience. Help me, every day and with all I seek, to always look to the cross!
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