On  Good Friday I participated in one of the most meaningful experiences of my years  in ministry.

At the conclusion of Elmbrook’s Good Friday service the congregation went to cross stations. When a person arrived at the station, a pastor marked their arm with a marker attached to a metal spike. This act symbolized the act of crucifixion.  While marking their arm, the pastor looked into the person’s eyes and repeated Jesus’ declaration, “It is finished.

Initially I was unsure about this experience, but I was quickly struck by its power. I looked hundreds of people in the eyes (Dancing eyes. Tearful eyes. Relieved eyes. Thankful eyes.), take their arms (White arms. Brown arms. Small arms. Bulging arms. Arms with cuts.), and proclaim God’s grace.  I saw God’s grace deeply move people.  I was also able to receive that grace myself.

I did not want those moments to end … but the service concluded.

Here are a few ways to continue living in the beauty and power of “It is finished.”

1. Personally Engage Others: There was something powerful about touching a person’s arm and looking them deep in the eyes.  All of us are made for deep connection. Yet, we often just pass by people while hurrying on to the next thing. We can break that pattern by intentionality looking into the eyes of others.

2. Extend God’s Grace to Others: While saying “It is finished” to people at the service, I was proclaiming that the grace of God has taken care of their “it.” We all an “it” that is weighing us down. This weight visibly lifted from many people as they heard God’s grace proclaimed. We do not have to wait until Good Friday to proclaim this good news. The grace of God should flavor our conversation.

3. Remember God’s Grace is for You: Part of the beauty of seeing the grace of God relieve others was that I had a deeper realization of that grace for myself. I often pick up burdens of  anxiety, pressure, guilt and shame. I need reminders of the good news, “It is finished.” That old way of life is dead. I do not have to bear the weight any more. I can live in freedom, even after Good Friday.