Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Today is Good Friday. But is it? Is it a “good” Friday? I’m not sure if it is or not. It is certainly unlike any Good Friday that I have experienced. For the 22 years that I have served as a pastor, I have always spent Good Friday with my church family, doing what families do when we grieve the loss of a loved one- come together to mourn, to weep, to pray. It is important to be together in our grief and loss. And that is what Good Friday is. It is when the followers of Jesus come together to grieve. Yet this year we can’t do that.
We can’t be in the same place, we can’t be where we want to be, we can’t be with those we want to be with. We are missing the comfort that we receive from each other. We are feeling lost and alone at a time when we are at our most fragile and vulnerable.
I imagine that the followers of Jesus felt that same way on the day that they watched Jesus suffer and die on the cross. They couldn’t even properly say good-bye to him. They had to hastily place his body in a borrowed tomb. And then just go. That was it. It was finished. Nothing would ever be the same again. Jesus was gone and their lives, their world, had changed.
Our lives, our world has changed. Nothing is like it once was. During this most holy week of the Christian year, we can’t be together like we want to be. We are having a hard time finding the hope and the joy in the midst of our grief and loss. It’s hard to find the good on this Good Friday. It’s hard to see resurrection in the face of the death that is all around us. Yet there is hope.
Over the last few weeks, the words of one of my favorite hymns have kept running through my mind: “In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity; in our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity. In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory, unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.” (Natalie Sleeth)
Perhaps we can’t see what God is doing during this dark time, but we can see what God did during the darkest time. And we know that He creates belief from our doubts, brings light into the darkness, overcomes death with resurrection. We know that the tomb was empty on the first Easter morning. And we know that no matter where we are, in church or at home, the tomb will be empty on this Easter morning, too. The Lord is risen again and the Lord is risen indeed!