The Worst Day Ever

Not for me. I have to write a "Lenten meditation" for the Church I work for, and I'm going to give you a sneak peek. It's written for Good Friday--a misnomer--which was of course the worst day ever. Here goes:

Matthew 27:1-54

Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.

Good Friday has to be the most depressing story in the Christian scriptures, partially because it rings so true. God descends to earth, lives a perfect life as a human being, heals the sick, advocates for the poor, sets the captives free, forgives sinners, breaks down oppressive social barriers and teaches us the best way to live. Then we kill him savagely, inflicting as much physical and emotional pain as possible and descending like a pack of wild dogs to divide up his possessions amongst ourselves. Isn't that just typical?

Good Friday of course isn't the end of the story, and it's tempting to flip forward to Easter morning when Jesus is raised so we don't have to dwell too much on all the ugliness surrounding his death. However, it might be a good idea to not shuffle past it too quickly, because Good Friday isn't just an indictment of humanity. Rather, it points out the fact that God suffered like the rest of us. On that day, God experienced the worst of what we have to offer: Jesus didn't deflect any punches, and he didn't cut and run though he presumably would have had the opportunity. He took the blows, and in so doing stood in solidarity with the other members of our race who suffer in a similar way. On Easter morning we learn, of course, that suffering is transient and that God redeems it, but on Good Friday let's remember that God is present with those who suffer, because God suffered himself.

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