It’s easy to sanitize our faith, to look on our holiday and imagine the breaking of the fast and the candy/food/wine we are about to indulge in. To imagine the flowers and the hallelujahs seems to pull us through these last days of Lent as we prepare for our fasts to be over.
It’s just so easy to get lost in the minutiae.
Our society, our world says the mighty win. They conquer. But Good Friday turns that notion on its head. You can’t have resurrection without death. You can’t have Easter without the crucifixion.
If I were to gaze upon my faith story, I would be hard bent not to understand the Jews of Jesus’ time. They wanted a Messiah king, one that would overthrow the government and make all things right. Who doesn’t want a conqueror king? Who doesn’t want immediate Earthly vindication?
But what they got… what we got... was a dead rabbi hanging from a cross. His flesh pierced and destroyed from lashes and spears. His bones not broken but his body poured out.
They wanted a King but they were given a sacrificial lamb.
A son, a rabbi, a friend brutally executed.
The Son, God as man, submitting to death, even death on the cross.
A week ago I was assigned the task of playing Mary Magdalene for my church’s “Walk with Jesus” event. We created a tomb and dressed up as these characters exclaiming to children how Jesus’ body was gone from the tomb.
It struck me as I organized the sheets and the alter, how joyful I was in comparison to the actual Mary. It struck me how light the cross was with the knowledge of what was to come Easter morning.
This year as I reflect on Good Friday, I want to remember the cross and the death of the Messiah. But I also want to remember Mary. I want to remember her trembling hands as she wrapped his body in cloth. I want to remember her tear stained face as she watched her friend, the man who set her free from unspeakable evil, die a bloody, despicable death. I want to remember her helplessness as it seemed like evil won and the stone was rolled over his tomb. I want to remember.
Lord, help me remember.
On Good Friday, we await resurrection and we sit in the darkness. We sit like Mary. Our trembling hands and tear stained cheeks searching the cross for an answer to the brokenness. Our ears open to the silence, the scent of death wafting through our lives... We sit. We wait.
Lord, help us remember.
Four suggestions for you and your community:
Make a bonfire with friends, reading the story of Peter’s betrayal, and confess your habitual sins over the year openly. Pray for each other as you remember your sins consequences on the cross.
Read over the crucifixion story, setting aside time to contemplate Jesus’ suffering for your sake.
If your church is not having a service, attend a church in your neighborhood that is hosting a Good Friday event. Take this day as a chance to remember with fellow believers from the Kingdom.