Where Arms Are Raised

This is a repost/rewrite of something I posted a while ago as I was reading through the OT... I felt it would be fitting for Good Friday. I'll take up blogging again in May. Hope everyone has a wonderful Easter!

VictoryOLordcropped

Moses lifting his hands on the hilltop.

There's something about that scene that gets me every time. I can see it even as I type—the powerful, electrifying strength with which he first raised his arms over the raging battle—the pain that gripped them as they grew unrelentingly heavy and fell to his sides—the weight of his body slumping down upon the rock—the weak, numb arms falling into the hands of Aaron and Hur—the arrows gleaming through the blazing atmosphere—the victory proclaimed by sunset.

It's so awe-inspiring, how a stuttering, awkward man was chosen to stumble down from a mountain engulfed in the presence of the Holiest One and proclaim the law of God before his people. That the same elderly man—overcome by weakness, desperately yoking his tired arms about the shoulders of his descendants—was entrusted with the power to lead his nation to victory. That the man who cried, from the depths of his fears and insecurities, "Send someone else!" would hear the creator of the universe say, "Go."

I stand in wonder of the God who pours his might into our weakness, who does not despise our messy, blundering offerings, who makes victorious those who lack the strength to hold up their own hands.

And I see glimmerings of Moses everywhere: in the young man lifting his arms during worship, overcome with waves of doubt and condemnation; in the young woman raising her hands in prayer, crying as she looks back on the life that's brought her to her knees; in the mother raising her newborn above her head and feeling a piercing pain as she remembers the father he will never meet; in the husband lifting his wife over the threshold of their new home, struggling to fight away the memories of his parents' relentless quarrels.

Where arms are raised, a battle is raging. And where arms are falling, crumbling under the weight of a broken world, they find support—held, embraced, rising, linked, outstretched, interwoven, unrestrained—as two or more gather in His name. For wherever the day is dying, hope is fading, and sunlight is languishing, the God of light waits to lavish victory upon his people.

I think of Jesus. His arms straining, the weight of his body pulling his hands above his head, his shoulders buckling, his head bowing. As the sun slipped silently from view, the world saw two arms raised in helpless defeat.

But they weren't. They had been raised in petition, stretched out in forgiveness, lifted with reckless abandon in passionate worship.

And now, supported on either side by two dark, gleaming nails, they were raised in victory.

The battle was won.

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Images: 'Victory O Lord' by John Everett Millais; 'Jesús crucificado expirante' by Francisco de Zurbarán

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I'm Oksana—Communication major, shutterbug, occasional blogger, incessant doodler, graphic design geek, and writer of sentimental prose. I am quite content to spend an afternoon with a pencil, a few blank Moleskine pages, and a playlist of indie folk. I love musical theatre, black-&-white movies, and Eastern European illustration. Conversations with strangers make my day. When it rains, I make a beeline for my mug of green tea and stack of 19th-century fiction. I'm vegetarian about 98% of the time. I'm extremely awkward and rather nerdy. I love the sea. My name means 'hosanna' and I'm having the time of my life living to praise the One who set me free.

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