“It is finished.” And so it was.
Good Friday. Day of death. The veritable death of God by the biblical account and by Christian acclamation.
John Dunne, master poet and Englishman of letters and lore once wrote, “Last night in the wee hours a thought came to me: to trust God beyond my own understanding of God.”
If there is anything good about Good Friday, this day of darkest action and deepest need, then it is this: that Jesus Christ, arrested, beaten, scourged, and crucified trusted God beyond our understandings.
We ask God about suffering…
We ask God about death…
We ask God about pain…
We ask God about injustice…
We ask God about right and wrong, and should and ought…
We ask God about poverty and pain in our midst and the whole time we are demanding an answer that is within what we already know, or in terms that we already understand. We expect God to tell us what we expect to hear.
It is not that God is not answering. God always answers. Most of the time, it is we who are not fully prepared to hear. Our “understanding” – whatever that is – gets in the way. Most of the time, we want cherubs and seraphs, angels on cloud and wing and harp, heavenly choruses raining down “Alleluias! and Hosannas!” upon our dried tears and our warm feet.
But on Good Friday we get a cross and an empire and cold footed death. We get a reminder that its God up there on that cross, and by virtue of Jesus, us too. We get a reminder that we are upon that cross while we are at the foot of that cross. We get a reminder that while we want to pass go and collect our 200 dollars, while we want to stop at the rest stop as quickly as possible and resume our 75 mile per hour journey to Easter morning and the resurrection sun; we get a reminder that with no cross there is no tomb; no Friday, no Sunday; no death, no resurrection.
“It is finished.”
Suzanne Gutherie at
is loss but the experience of love, after all?
If you did not love, there would be no loss. Absence become a kind of presence. What man or woman does not bear grief? Even a happy and healthy childhood has its
frustrations, and too often war, hunger, injustice, poverty, disease, and
natural disaster prevail. What drove
Abraham and Moses to plead for their generations? What drove prophets to pit their lives
against their society and culture? And
absorbed as he was in that tradition of patriarchs and prophets, what drove
Jesus to the cross?” Cornell
Dear friends, it was love divine all love’s excelling, and nothing less. Love for the criminals to his right and left. Love for the poets, the lovers, the thieves. Love for the educated and proper. Love for a world which in that moment was not prepared or able to love him back or to even be aware that what he was about would be and was the most important work that any of them would ever witness.
They failed to pay right witness to it – not the Mary’s or the chosen disciples, but the great and obtuse “they” who were simply going about their business, tending the fields, faxing the documents, placing the orders, making the copies, feeding the child.
Canadian theologian Douglas John Hall has written, “The cross is our Christian reality-check, and unlike a lot of other religious symbolism the cross doesn’t lie about realty.”