April 19 - Good Friday
The Collect: Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
"It is finished." Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Today is Good Friday, which marks the day of Jesus’ crucifixion and death. In scripture, he had been arrested the previous night, handed over to the authorities, and condemned to die, along with two thieves. This day, which is filled with images of Jesus’ very real pain and agony, may seem to be anything but good, but the term comes from an earlier English sense of “good,” meaning “holy”. (The Episcopal Church)
But as it is, my kingdom is not here …
From the Proclamation of the Passion: John 18: 1-19: 42
There is certainly reason and cause for grief and mourning. There is assuredly a case to be made for lament and sadness because the reign of God is far from being realized. God’s heart is pierced because our world is pierced: hunger, violence, greed, abuse, homelessness, anxiety, isolation, racism, misogyny, bigotry, poverty, murder, extreme economic injustice … the litany is endless. Many would say this is the reality of the world and of this time and place – and that “heaven” will only come when we actually, hopefully, “get to heaven” after we die. So instead of committing to build the city of God here on earth – we look out for our spiritual self-interest, obsessed and possessed by making sure we will “get there” in the afterlife.
But this is not God’s hope for us, nor is it God’s vision for us. The reign of God is to be made real, right here, and right now. And while our intentions keep getting shattered in seeing the dream of God’s reign coming true, we are called on this very day to remember that each day is to be a deliberate and intentional choice to place our lives in the hands of our “Abba.” Such surrender is the only path, the only hope, that we have for tombs to be emptied and for true rising to take place.
We must die to our plans, strategies, politics, and patterns of living in this world; such actions and directions need to be crucified and buried, and we have to die a similar death. Then we can discover a sweet consolation that will rise from our broken hearts.