Good Friday is really annoying. It’s annoying because, well, for one thing, we usually like Fridays. They come at the end of a work week. Sometimes it’s even a payday! Fridays are a time to relax a little before the to-do list is tackled on Saturday. Fridays usually are good. Except this one. This one is definitely bad. And not only was it bad, it was bad for everyone involved. It was bad for Pilate who didn’t want to be bothered, it was bad for Peter who denied Jesus not once, mind you, but three times. It was really bad for the disciples who ran and hid so they wouldn’t be arrested either. Of course, it was really, really bad for Jesus. The ultimate worst day of his life. I mean it ended with him dying. It just couldn’t get any worse. And, if I may belabor a point here, Good Friday is annoying because we have to relive it every year. Every year we hear the verses that tell us how everyone fell short of understanding who Jesus was. EVERY YEAR! It’s not like once in a while we hear something different to, you know, change it up a little. Nope. Every year it’s the same bad news. Depressing story, depressing ending, annoying Pilate and Sanhedrin. Just sad, the whole thing.
And then, and then…I have to stop whining. I have to be “re-tuned” to hear what it is about, this sad, depressing, downer of litany about what happened 2000 plus years ago. Because there was a reason for what happened. It wasn’t just some story passed down to scare us and make us feel depressed every year. There is a reason for this.
I am a sinful person. Lest you feel smug, excuse me, but so are you. We are both saint and sinner as Brother Luther pointed out hundreds of times. I really don’t deserve to be forgiven all the stuff I do or even don’t do. I walk away from responsibilities. I walk away from people I love when I don’t want to hear them. I practically run away from God some days. And when I finally get to Sunday, I usually stop, turn and look up at the cross. That somber symbol of the day. It’s there before me, accusatory and yet not. Making me face who I am, yet still shadowing me, cloaking me, covering me. Bringing me back to the God I profess to love. I remember that Jesus had a choice, too. He didn’t have to go to the cross for us. He even asked God to get out of it—just like I do! But he didn’t get out of it, he didn’t walk away, he didn’t take the easy way out. He interposed himself for us. Big word, interposed. In this case it means: to place between two people or things. He placed himself between God and man or woman or child or whatever pronoun you want to use. He put himself between God and us, so that God would see not just the ugly stuff, but the good stuff, too. Jesus put himself there on purpose. Not because we deserve it, but because, well, because he sought us out. He took on our sins in this horrible drama that gets played out so death can’t have the final word. We are saved by Jesus’ blood. I should be more joyful in light of this. More vocal in my praise. I have been saved by Jesus’ blood.
Instead, I wander around like I’m the captain of my own ship, answerable to me and me only. In my own private and personal thoughts, I’m good enough, so what’s the problem? I need to be reminded of the cross, really not once a year, but every single day! God loves me every single day. How can that be? I don’t seem to be particularly lovable in my actions, my thoughts and deeds. That love that binds me to him through that sorrowful symbol of the cross is also a blessing. Thank God I’m loved! Through no actions or thoughts of my own. Thank God! Thank God.
This sad, depressing story of Good Friday is actually a story of love so big, that there is not really any way to measure it, to quantify it, to even grasp it. It’s just too all encompassing. Too magnanimous. Too amazing in its grace. So full of mercy and goodness, that we need only to think of today as Good Friday. Because it is good. And no walking or even running away from God can separate us from him. Because of Jesus. Because of the love that is sealed with this cross, with his actions, with this love never ceasing.
Maybe Good Friday isn’t as annoying as I once thought.