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Good Friday

“The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Romans 8: 34, 35 MSG

For many, Good Friday is the news they wake up to this morning. They feel separated from God’s love because of war, poverty, broken relationships, or a terminal diagnosis. The beatitudes promise that the meek will inherit the earth, and that the peacemaker will know God’s Abba-love, but on Good Friday, the greedy call the shots, the meek remain empty handed, and peacemakers are endangered.
 
Good Friday news is difficult to look at. If we are to observe our Lord’s crucifixion we need to also observe the passion of those who still live in a Good Friday world. Good Friday is home to the jealousy, betrayal, greed, power-hunger, and vitriol that led us to turn on the one who only 5 days ago we greeted with “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” Those who called for Jesus’ crucifixion called for it in the name of their Lord. Good Friday exposes our worst and God remains unafraid.
 
Jesus’ friends, followers, and even the thieves to his right and left who were also being executed by the state—they all knew that something was awry, but they couldn’t stop it. Many had had great hope, but when death fell upon Jesus that hope died with him. Hopelessness is not naiveté, it is not lack of courage. Sometimes hopelessness is all that’s left when we taste separation from what we know of God’s love.
 
Resurrection Sunday is not hope we can keep in our back pocket to save us from looking at the face of hopelessness. Resurrection is the interruption of God, when all other hopes fail. Jesus died for us, and lives for us. But Good Friday requires we too learn the lesson of the seed that must fall into the ground and die, to truly grow into a shade providing, fruit-bearing tree.
 
Today as you contemplate on Jesus’ death, look with compassion on those other deaths that you see around you; those deaths and losses that you hold, and those that others still hold. Pray for those suffering under oppression, death-dealing poverty, epidemics, and genocide. Pray for those in political prison, those incarcerated for life, those on death row.   And hope with them for resurrection power. Look with them for Easter. Not just a worship service celebrating our Lord’s resurrection—a life interruption Easter moment proving the resurrection within their very lives. Pray for the beatitudes to come true, for the meek to inherit this earth and for the peacemakers know God’s fatherhood.  Pray for this for yourself too—an end to all those things that separate you from God love and compassion.