Friday, April 02, 2010

Homily for Good Friday at Church in the Valley

I wrote something like this last year, but in the event I didn't need to use it - so I preached it this afternoon. I'm pretty certain that I borrowed a chunk of it from elsewhere, - but cannot for the life of me remember if you recognise your own words, my apologies for not thanking you by name, and my gratitude for kick starting my thoughts too.

Every year, the same question…what’s so good about Friday.
This year it was voiced by a 10 year old who had just finished the first 5 stations of the Experience Easter trail & was brimming with frustrated anger at the pain he had recognised in the 100s of post-its that were covering this cross
GOOD Friday? I don’t think so
It is a hard day for most of us.
Are you against capital punishment?
To-day we are forced to remember it.
Do you see Jesus as wholly innocent & good?
Today we remember his agonising death as a traitor
Do you trust that virtue is rewarded?
Today tells a different story..
And are you fearful of death?
Today we have to stare it in the face

But it is, nonetheless, Good Friday…and actually the truth of its goodness lies deep in the pain of the world, is recorded on each one of those post-its, that fell like autumn leaves around the cross.
Good Friday is the day when those who suffer find hope, because God is suffering with them.

God knows the suffering of those who could with integrity claim the "suffering servant" passages of Isaiah as their own story, those who might find themselves voicing the Psalms of lament as their own song.
God knows the suffering of the poor, the refugees and the displaced, of those who live in fear in occupied territories, of those who have lost their jobs, their homes, their self-confidence.
God knows the suffering of the hungry and the outcast, of the meek whom the world delights to trample on.
God knows the grief of the grieving, the pain of betrayal at the hands of those from whom you expected friendship.
God knows the anguish, the terrible loneliness of one who is suffering all of these things, - and even the desolation of feeling yourself abandoned by God.

God knows all of this pain, personally and profoundly, because God suffered it all in the person of Jesus.

Our Lord naked on the cross, vulnerable to insects and birds, to sun and wind, and to the cruellest of creatures, human beings whose humanity has been twisted by violence ...Our Lord hanging there is an icon to the poor, suffering, and vulnerable that says:

You are not abandoned.

The broken body of the Christ is not some garment that God tried on, didn't like, and tossed aside in favour of more festive Easter finery; it is an icon of who God is in God's eternal nature.
The risen Christ will forever bear the print of the nails.
God was and is and always will be, there with, at one with, suffering with, the suffering, the outcast, the poor.

At Christmas we celebrate Emmanuel, God with us.
Today as we look at the cross we see God with us again in all the pain & dereliction of broken human flesh.

And why is he there?
Not to appease a wrathful deity demanding recompense for sin.
Oh no…
God loved the world so much
Christ on the cross shows us that there is nothing, nothing that God will not do to show us we are loveable.
It was not the nails that held him there – it was love…love that, in just three days, showed itself to be stronger than death.

1 comment:

Minnie said...
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