Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday (“Good” means Holy).  Millions of Christians worldwide will observe the day commemorating the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus.  Some of the faithful will walk through the streets of Jerusalem and other cities around the world carrying a wooden cross and wearing a crown of thorns to symbolize the event that happened centuries ago.  In Jerusalem, the procession will follow the Via Dolorosa, the Way of the Cross, retracing the steps of Jesus on that fateful day.  

Who can explain the meaning of this cross and the death of Jesus—this Good Friday—this Passion of Jesus Christ?  It is difficult, maybe even impossible.  Perhaps that is why it is most often expressed in song.

“In the cross of Christ I glory, towering o’er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story gathers round its head sublime.”

For some of us, Jesus embodies God:  loving, gentle, caring, compassionate, taking on all the pain, grief, and struggle of this broken world and calling out to us in love to be in communion with him.  So it is, when I ponder this Good Friday and stand at the foot of the cross,  what I come to see and to  know is that no cost, no passion, no suffering, not even death can break God’s nature—God’s love for the world and for me.  Jesus embodies God.  Jesus carries the world to the cross; Jesus carries me to the cross, and calls both to me and the world to embrace, as Jesus embraced, the pain of the whole world’s family.  All those who hurt, who hunger, who are lonely, who are sick, who are frustrated, who are grieving, who are depressed and downhearted, all those who are mentally ill, physically handicapped, and those who are in prison.  These I am called, through the cross of Jesus, to carry in my heart with God—just as Jesus carries me and the entire world upon that cross.  That is what I see and feel and know as I stand at the foot of the cross of Jesus…and thus I sing:

“When the woes of life overtake me, hopes deceive, and fears annoy,
Never shall the cross forsake me.  Lo! It glows with peace and joy.

Bane and blessing, pain and pleasure, by the cross are sanctified;
Peace is there that knows no measure, joys that through all time abide.”

“Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were an offering far too small,

Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”
Sunset in South Carolina--2017

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