Week 16: Day 6 - Friday (April 19, 2019) Good Friday
Join us this evening for a Good Friday service in the Chapel at 6:30pm.
Good Friday Devotion
This year’s Redemption Road sermon series has prepared us for this day. We have read the parables Jesus told to prepare his disciples for this day. We have heard their hard lessons about God’s grace and love and sacrifice as a contrast to our own sense of what is fair and just. Unlike the disciples, we know the end to which the earthly journey of Jesus would come. Like them, however, we may not be ready to understand the significance of the tragic events of that final week.
In our own day, we are no strangers to tragedy. But we can be numbed by daily news of loss of human life in our communities and worldwide, and we risk becoming hardened to the impact of another natural disaster or another mass shooting. At one time, I could name the cities around the world where such events took place; now I can only recall the most recent. Such news is no longer rare, and relief efforts and humanitarian organizations are challenged to respond to such devastating need.
In the same way, the annual retelling of the passion story, the events of Jesus’ last week on earth, can become routine for us and no longer carry for us the terrifying grief and horrific sense of loss felt by the disciples. Their whole world came crashing down with the cruelty of his crucifixion. Their hopes and dreams died on the cross, with no expectation of what was to come.
For us, because we know the Easter Resurrection that follows Good Friday, we can too quickly move through the grief of the crucifixion and choose to avert our eyes and ignore the suffering. Much as we may close our eyes in the scary parts of movies or use the remote control to skip through the bloody scenes, we may be tempted to skim over the Good Friday pain to move onto the happy ending of Easter celebrations. It hurts to hurt, and revisiting the pain of our own losses and sorrows may be too much to bear.
Yet, that human tendency to forego experiencing anew the tragedy of Good Friday can unintentionally deprive us of feeling the power of Christ’s death and resurrection for us. Because as we reflect on the grief and powerlessness that comes from tragic loss, we feel anew our own need for Christ’s healing love and grace. We yearn for the healing that can come only from knowing that he sacrificed all, overcame the power of death, to make us one with him now and in the life to come. From our suffering and agony, which required the gift of his perfect life and love and sacrificial death, our own new life is made possible.
On this Good Friday, let us linger at the foot of the cross. Let us not hasten to move away from the darkness of Christ’s death. Let us be there to hear his last words, to feel the sorrow of those final hours, and to grieve the cruelty of his death. Let us feel the weight of those moments. For in his suffering, we are made whole.
by Beth Stroble