Scripture: Mark 14:55 – 15:47
Today is Good Friday.
When I was a child growing up on a farm in southern Ontario, there was an understanding in our family that it would always rain on Good Friday—because it was a sad day. And all through that day as we went about our chores and played (most often actually, in rain or wet snow), I remember being sort of somberly aware that “a death was happening.”
Good Friday tells a story that repels me. It speaks of fear, disorientation, loss of soul, pain, the desperate need for control that turns vicious, deadly; it speaks of reality. It shatters my image of who I am and what I am about.
One year, as a young mother, all I could hear from the story was the anger that burst out from the crowd, the mob—until I slowly realized that it was bursting out from deep within my own heart. It reveals the dark and dangerous underbelly of our ways of being with one another; in our systems and as we create our cultural myths and ideologies.
In another year, a situation at my work, occurring ironically on Maundy Thursday, brought me to the Good Friday service with the dull, aching realization that we/I were continuing to enact the conniving and colluding of the Chief Priests and the Council, and the weak, easily influenced decision-making of Pilate.
But, Good Friday also draws me into its power, one could say, by a miracle. This day, I stand again, at the cross while a death is happening—and it does take a miracle, as I travel into the heart of the story, into the heart of the Jesus who, in his short, but provocative life, kept saying “Yes” no matter what was happening.
I hear from this Holy One “Do not be afraid.” As I take hold of these words and give them to my fears about all the grim complexity in this world….and let them calm my personal fearing in the midst of whatever is going on in my life, I can look forward to a new vision and a new hoping.
And so, on this day, I wait with the women, for the new life that is to come.
By Janice Aiken
On this dark and dreadful day, O God, give me courage to wait with the women who stayed. Give me a sense of the injustice of our human systems and help me stand in places of pain to relieve the suffering. AMEN