Good Friday, what a dark day …
I am sure that many people (well in fact I know many people) don’t like this time of the year – this part of the Christian calendar – some churches just skip it altogether with the understanding that Jesus has risen and so there’s no need to focus on the crucifixion.
Who can blame them?
Who wants to focus on the messy, dark side of humanity when you can revel in Easter eggs and happy thoughts?
But as I have journeyed this weekend with the St Winifred’s Methodist Church over Tenebrae and the Good Friday services, I have been struck anew at just how powerful this message of love is. That someone could be so brave and so loving in the face of unbearable cruelty is incomprehensible to me. Yes Jesus was God and yes it was for the greater good, but when I think on what he went through and how that message translates today I can’t help but feel deeply, deeply moved.
This is a day when we can be unashamedly ashamed of the muck and the dark stuff that we deal with on a daily basis and live in hope that it can be redeemed. For those who have suffered loss and shame and humiliation throughout the past year, they can look at the cross and say I know a God who feels this pain with me. I know a God who weeps when I weep, who sent a messenger into the world to say ‘I have such an unbelievable plan for your life and if you can find the courage to walk with me I will show you a love that transforms everything, even death.’
So for those of you who like me, are feeling just a little melancholic and reflective today, give in to the feeling, let the darkness settle over you, allow yourself this moment of grief, because on Sunday the s[o]n will rise again and our spirits will be refreshed as we remember it wasn’t a meaningless death, it was self-sacrificial loving at its best.
‘It is finished.’ (John 19:30)
‘I have done what I came to do’ says Jesus. ‘I have been faithful to the end and in my love and in my sacrifice people can now know, I am who I said I was. I am your son.’
‘I am the incarnation of all that you hoped creation would be. All that creation still can be, courageous and loving, kind and humble, wise and forgiving – whole, peaceful, complete.’
The end becomes the beginning.
The suffering is over.
The redemption fulfilled.
The darkest hour the world has ever known, resting now in grief and mourning, the veil tears, the message is translated …
He loved us, he loves us.
It is finished.