It is Good Friday---the day that Christians commemorate the death of Jesus on the Cross. I read years ago that it was once called "God's Friday," but that "God's" eventually morphed into "Good" over the centuries.
Regardless, Christian now call this Friday "Good" because through the death of Christ we believe that our old self with all of its baggage is crucified, put to death and buried with Him, which is definitely good news.
Last night at the powerful Maundy Thursday service we held at my church, we stripped the sanctuary of all of its decorations as we concluded worship. One of the other pastors and I took the large cross that hangs on the wall of the sanctuary down and carried it out.
When I looked back at the bare wall, I felt my emotions well up inside of me. It was a helpless kind of feeling that I felt. The loss of that familiar symbol hit me harder than I thought it would.
Kathleen Morris once wrote, "Good Friday is a wake-up call, forcefully reminding us that suffering and death are real, and that even the son of God had to endure them."
Today I am confronted by the weight of that statement. Jesus did endure suffering and death, and even more for our sakes and for the sake of all Creation. When he cried out "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?", Jesus endured the doubt and pain that comes from feeling the very loss of God.
I know that feeling. We all do. It hits us in unexpected moments when we feel as though the presence of God has left us alone in the midst of our trials and tribulations. But in his moment of doubt and loss, Jesus never seems to lose sight of his purpose and the love that drew him to it.
Fredrick Buechner had these words to about Jesus crying out on the Cross: "Not even God can destroy his love for God because the love [Jesus] loves God with is God's love empowering his to love in return with all his heart even when his heart is all but broken."
May you experience God's great love and grace on this "God's Friday," and every day forward. May you know that it is the perfect love of God through Christ that banishes all fear, all doubt and fills the emptiness we feel when it seems as though God has abandoned us... even though God hasn't and never will.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.