Good Friday, ironically named, is a time of mourning. Today we grieve the reality that an innocent human being was brutally executed on behalf of the world. We reflect on the nature of our own darkness and surrender all of it onto the cross. That Christ receives all of our darkness, depravity, and sin out of love onto himself. It's graphic, it's bloody, it's painful, it's horrifying, it's scary, it's sad, and yet it's hopeful. Isaiah the prophet writes of our suffering servant and Lord:
4 Surely he has borne our infirmities
and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his bruises we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
This is the picture of God's love for us, that God would go through the unspeakable horror of being crucified for each of us. And in so doing enter into all of the brokeness of the world. That as those nails broke into his flesh, Jesus was experiencing indescribable anguish for us. For you.
This is the God Christians worship. A God not distant from human suffering, but more aquatinted with it then we are. A God that entered into our suffering, walks with us, and overcomes it all. Subsequently, the symbol that Christians around the world identify with is the cross- a Roman execution device. The cross, the death of Christ is a source of great power, hope, and our very salvation. Because we know that death is not the final word, that resurrection is the final word. But in order to have resurrection, we have to go through the cross. Today we remember the scandalous and counterintuitive act that redeems the world.
Oak Life is hosting an interactive time of prayer and reflection surrounding these events- be sure to come and engage! You can stop by anytime between 7-8:30 at the office.
Additionally, you may want to spend some alone time reflecting on the crucifixion. Let your imagination identify with this man who, out of infinite love, was thrust onto wooden beams, exposed and bloody, and hung high by nails for you.
Take some time to read through the passion narrative found in the gospels:
-Mark 15:33 to 16:8
-Matthew 27:52 to 28:20
-Luke 23:44 to 24:12
-John 19:29 to 20:18
As you reflect- maybe ask yourself some questions:
-Where in my life do I need the hope of the cross? That darkness and death are not the end?
-What darkness do I need to bring to the light of the cross. Are there things to confess? If so, surrender them to God and receive forgives.
-How can I identify more with the suffering of others, like Jesus?
-Do I fully understand the extent of God's love for me?