I remember my professor, Serene Jones, saying that the pain of the cross wakes us up to the pain of the world. Sometimes it is possible to shutter ourselves away from much of the pain of the world. My friend recently posted beautiful bios and candids of the folks who perished in Boulder when a shooter randomly snuffed out their lives. Another friend of mine, a nurse, shared with me the story of her cancer patient who cannot get treatment because he falls between the cracks in the public safety net. Sometimes the news on the front page of the Wall Street Journal or the Kansas City Star stops you cold before your first sip of coffee. But look we must. Biblical scholar Walter Bruggeman says Good Friday is “the ultimate day in which the church asks with unblinking honesty about the moral quality of reality.”
On Good Friday, we remember that when the world aches, the very heart of God aches. When Jesus faced this most difficult hour, he turned to his faith. He was steeped in the prayer book of his tradition, Judaism. He knew the prayers and songs recorded in our book of Psalms by heart. So in the gospels we read about how he cried out, quoting various Psalms, calling upon God. Rather than turning away from God because of the pain, he turned to God to share his anguish and plead for mercy and justice, forgiveness and love.
Psalm 69 echoes how God compassionately embraces us during our suffering.
“Let the oppressed see it and be glad:
On Good Friday, we pause to pay attention to the pain of the world, to give thanks that God enters completely into the reality of human life. For only a God like that, could bring us hope and new life.
See you Sunday,