Good Friday

Far More Can Be Mended Than You Know (Good Friday Quote)

“He cannot do anything deliberate now. The strain of his whole weight on his outstretched arms hurts too much. The pain fills him up, displaces thought, as much for him as it has for everyone else who has ever been stuck to one of these horrible contrivances, or for anyone else who dies in pain from any of the world’s grim arsenal of possibilities. And yet he goes on taking in. It is not what he does, it is what he is. He is all open door: to sorrow, suffering, guilt, despair, horror, everything that cannot be escaped, and he does not even try to escape it, he turns to meet it, and claims it all as his own. This is mine now, he is saying; and he embraces it with all that is left in him, each dark act, each dripping memory, as if it were something precious, as if it were itself the loved child tottering homeward on the road. But there is so much of it. So many injured children; so many locked rooms; so much lonely anger; so many bombs in public places; so much vicious zeal; so many bored teenagers at roadblocks; so many drunk girls at parties someone thought they could have a little fun with; so many jokes that go too far; so much ruining greed; so much sick ingenuity; so much burned skin. The world he claims, claims him. It burns and stings, it splinters and gouges, it locks him round and drags him down…

All day long, the next day, the city is quiet. The air above the city lacks the usual thousand little trails of smoke from cookfires. Hymns rise from the temple. Families are indoors. The soldiers are back in barracks. The Chief Priest grows hoarse with singing. The governor plays chess with his secretary and dictates letters. The free bread the temple distributed to the poor has gone stale by midday, but tastes all right dipped in water or broth. Death has interrupted life only as much as it ever does. We die one at a time and disappear, but the life of the living continues. The earth turns. The sun makes its way towards the western horizon no slower or faster than it usually does.

Early Sunday morning, one of the friends comes back with rags and a jug of water and a box of the grave spices that are supposed to cut down on the smell. She’s braced for the task. But when she comes to the grave she finds that the linen’s been thrown into the corner and the body is gone. Evidently anonymous burial isn’t quite anonymous enough, after all. She sits outside in the sun. The insects have woken up, here at the edge of the desert, and a bee is nosing about in a lily like silk thinly tucked over itself, but much more perishable. It won’t last long. She takes no notice of the feet that appear at the edge of her vision. That’s enough now, she thinks. That’s more than enough.

Don’t be afraid, says Yeshua. Far more can be mended than you know.

She is weeping. The executee helps her to stand up.” 

Francis Spufford, Unapologetic: Why, despite everything, Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense

Image: creative commons

Holy Week Meditations (Good Friday): Three Important Words

John 19:30 "Three Important Words"

Good Friday is a paradox of good and evil. The good and marvelous realities of a God who comes to the world to save and not condemn. The Creator God who showers mercy, grace, and love on undeserved sinners. 

A good God comes to a bad people and offers an invitation of forgiveness, restoration, salvation, and hope.

A paradox, the definition of goodness, and the outcome of good, requiring a holy imagination. Good expressed in the innocent dying for the guilty, the weak for the strong. 

How can the death of an innocent man, who is also God, be good? The Creator and Redeemer God is destroyed, crushed, and crucified for our sins and iniquities. By his wounds and stripes we are healed, and get peace. Where’s the justice and goodness?

A loving God who bestows gifts upon gifts rejected and abandoned by his creatures. Evil and injustice running rampant and the air we breathe daily. Where is the good?

But if we sit long enough, think, ponder, reflect, pray, and meditate on the good of Good Friday, goodness is all around.

How so?

We could argue atonement theory and try to surmise what happened on the cross and why it was necessary. Maybe pontificate on the role and vocation of Jesus and if he was the Son of God, or a mere failed revolutionary prophet and rabbi.  

But I need something greater than well articulated words from theologians and professors and commentators and pastors and bloggers. I need to hear from the Source. Why is Good Friday, good? Jesus gives a hint:

It is finished. 

The words of Jesus spoken from the rugged cross where his blood and life was poured out. Maybe words that confuse, or comfort. 

Words of completion and new creation. When God created the heavens and earth he rested on the seventh day and said:

It is finished. It is good, very good. 

Everything Jesus says about the world, himself, us, and where it is all headed are found in these three simple words: it is finished.

Jesus’ words are for me and you. It is finished. No more striving and making ourselves whole. Jesus has done it. No more penance and weak attempts at balancing the scales of my sin, it is finished. 

The crucifixion no longer repeated, a one time event. Remembered as a completed act in bread and cup as God’s people gather. It is finished. Put away your religion, self righteousness, lamb, temple, striving, and animals for slaughter. The Passover Lamb has completed the once and for all sacrifice.

Rest in him. 

It is finished, words I need often. When life feels too much, appears evil is winning, it is finished. My sin and addiction too big for God to handle, it is finished. 

When I think religious devotion or good deeds will satisfy the heart of God, it is finished. Another loose word damages the souls of the ones I love, it is finished. 

Anxiety and worry, making it hard to breathe, it is finished. 

When feelings, emotions, and expectations and joy are lacking: it is finished. 

In the midst of fear, doubt, and sorrow: it is finished.

Whatever we might think about God, faith, Christianity, and the realities of the universe. Wrapped up into our understanding of who we are, who God is, and where it all is headed are found in these three simple words:
It is finished. 

Good Friday is not just good, it is very good!