Psalm 95, 22, 40, 54
Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-33
1 Peter 1:10-20
John 13:36-38, 19:38-42
Why is it that today comes with so many different emotions?
Good Friday brings us so many conflicting emotions. We are assaulted by the great grief as we humanize the death of Christ, connecting those emotions to others around us whom we have known and lost while finding in the middle of it the exhilaration that comes with reliving our salvation through the death and resurrection. Today’s passages span the same range of emotions
The Psalms range from a joyful call to worship to others that remind us of our low state in comparison to God. Lamentations begins to shift from being all about the punishment God put on the Israelites to a passage that closes with an optimistic outlook, declaring, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end,” and, “For the Lord will not reject for ever.” Just as today takes us to the depths of despair, we know Sunday is coming.
The Epistle passage from 1 Peter calls us to live holy lives as Christ did in his example to us. We should discipline our minds and bodies to change our focus from those perishable things of the world and tradition to the imperishable blood of Christ. The Gospel passages in John focus on events on either side of Jesus’s death. First Jesus identifies that Peter will deny him to the people. The second part of the passage identifies the hasty burial shortly after Jesus dies.
Beginning with Sunday, each day leading up to Good Friday marked a triumph of Christ in his ministry. Key events and powerful teaching made the events of Friday so much more devastating. Everything was going right. And suddenly it stopped.
We proudly wave the palm fronds. We rejoice at the cleansing of the temple. We relish in the giving of the Lord’s supper.
And then we are faced with unimaginable violence.
And we confront the death of the perfect one.
And suddenly we are the worm David proclaimed himself to be.
Two thousand years later, we know how it turns out, but we, rightfully, cannot but feel the grief that comes as we remember the day. The heady joys of the week make the sadness that much more heavy which in turn makes the thrill of Easter that much stronger. Connecting with these feelings connects us again to God and provides a renewal, at least for a while, of our faith.
Let us find our way through the grief of this day into a renewed, reconfirmed faith with the strength to take up our own cross.