HOLY WEEK REFLECTIONS – GOOD FRIDAY – PART 1
There is a temptation on this special day to move swiftly over the agonising picture of the suffering and death of Jesus and reassure ourselves with the knowledge of a happy ending two days later. However, the impact of Good Friday can be lost if we move too quickly to the promise of the resurrection. We need to dwell on the dreadful picture of this day, not just its true meaning in terms of our spiritual salvation but its connection to the injustices of the world, the suffering of innocent people and the evil regimes that keep a tight control over people’s lives. Conversely, we can lessen the wonderful joy of Easter Day if we dampen our feelings down by returning to the cross too quickly. Like in so many things, a balance is required and as scripture reminds us –‘there is a time to weep and there is a time for joy.’
Today, we remember Jesus’ suffering and death by crucifixion – the one who stood for life and love, justice and faith, upsetting convention and exposing hypocrisy, was cruelly killed by those who couldn’t stand it any longer. Mark’s gospel conveys well the sense of sheer human suffering and agony of the cross. It is worth remembering that in the early centuries of Christianity, the cross was not used as a symbol of the faith because it was an instrument of torture and execution. Crucifixion was a terrible way of dying and eventually, it was banned as it seemed too barbaric. The ugly reality of Jesus’ death on a cross must not be glossed over and on this day, we reflect on Jesus’ human experience as well as the theology behind it.
Mark’s account of Jesus’ death, is to remind us that to follow Jesus will be costly and may well demand some kind of sacrifice. Too many people look at Christianity as a comfortable, conventional and respectable religion, whereas in truth - what Jesus stood for was quite different. One question for us to dwell on today is ‘Are we prepared to follow Jesus in a more radical way that reflects the way he lived his life?’ The fact that Jesus endured real pain and torture to the point of death, should help us to pray with compassion and act courageously on behalf of all who are victims of such painful cruelty.
Maybe, it is worth reading again in Matthew’s gospel, chapter 25v35-36, the words of Jesus –‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you invited me in; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me; in prison and you came to me;’ v40 – ‘Whatever, you did for the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me.’
***ANNOUNCEMENT! We are delighted to be able to reopen St Paul's church for in person services - in time for Easter! For details of our events and services during Holy Week, check out our Services at St Paul's and Church At Home Pages.****