Good Friday

'Addolorata' photo (c) 2005, Giovanni - license:

I keep thinking about how today is Good Friday, about how it’s the day of His death, and about my friends who are experiencing death in the realest of ways today.

There were several writers at the conference last week that kept referencing a quote by another famous writer, Barbara Johnson, who said that Christians are Easter people living in a Good Friday world.

Today feels like Good Friday.

One of the writers said that maybe we Christians are too quick to rush to Easter. He said that we have to remember that we can’t get to Easter without Good Friday, and he wondered if maybe too often we want to rush through Good Friday because sitting in the pain of it is just too hard.

I’ve been trying today to just sit in the pain. I find myself crying for my friends, for the baby I won’t get to meet and that they won’t ever hold. I try to liken it to the loss that God experienced when His Son died, but it’s too much for my head and my heart too hold. And I think at those times in this day that maybe that writer is right, that sitting in the pain of it is just too hard.

Lauren Winner says that if we sit in our hurts long enough, if we’re patient in them, then they have something to teach us. That if we can be still, even if just for five minutes, that the loneliness or anger or sadness has a lesson for us. I think she means there’s a God-truth somewhere. That if we sit in the pain and hurt and somehow find a way to invite God into it that we’ll learn something about Him we hadn’t known. Or maybe it’ll give some texture to something we already know. Like, what it is to have compassion. Like, what it is to sit with someone without sermonizing. Like, what it is to pray something – “Father, not as I will, but as You will” – when it’s the hardest thing to pray.

I find myself sitting in the pain of today only thinking that is Good Friday. That it is the day of death, the day of suffering, the day of loss and grief and pain.

And I don’t want to rush through the pain of today with distractions and inattention. Because it doesn’t honor my friends who are suffering through today, and I don’t think it honors the Good Friday part of this Easter weekend.

“It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ And having said this he breathed his last.” (Mark 23:44-46)

I feel the cloud, the darkness, the failing sun today. And I’m glad to be leaving for church soon, to sit with my oldest friend and take communion and sit in prayer and be reminded that yes, today is Good Friday, but Easter is coming.

Easter is coming. Hallelujah!

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