I remember going to Good Friday services as a child wondering why we were all acting so serious when we knew that Friday wasn’t the end of the story. I got that what happens to Jesus on the cross is at once tragic and yet beautiful. I got that we needed to remember the importance of that moment – but why anymore so than every day of the year? It’s almost as if we forgot that Sunday always follows Friday!
As I grew older, though, I realised that this is all part of the rhythm of life that we’ve talked about before here – that we need to set aside time to reflect on the events of that first ‘Good’ Friday, and the utter desolation that those who were closest to Jesus must have felt.
We need to remember that as well as good in faith, there is also difficulty and despair. But not forgetting that for every Good Friday, there is the promise of a Easter Morning – however distant that may seem. Death is beaten. The cycle of life is overturned. Something else happens. Hope wins.
We need to be reminded that life is fragile, that we need to make best use of the years we have to do the best we can to be part of the kingdom of God coming here and now. Focusing too much on what happens to us after we die tends to lead us to forget about the life we’re meant to bring to all we come into contact with every single day. Somehow like forgetting about the years Jesus spends teaching and just thinking about one week of his short life.
And so, today, we meditate on the darkness of a day in which God is left hanging on a cross. Abandoned. Forsaken. Yes, resurrection is just around the corner, but let’s just dwell here for a short while.
Let’s not rush away from it. Death is, after all, an inevitable part of life. But this death – well, this death is all about life.
Let us remember why we live.
Take 5 minutes out of today and watch/listen to this. It’s old school, but it’s good.
This post was written and first posted in 2012 as part of a Lenten series written in partnership with friends here in Exeter.