by Jeannie Kendall
This is a Good Friday like no other I’ve ever seen. I pray that it will never be repeated. All over the world there is a pandemic that is taking lives, separating loved ones, destroying hopes and dreams. Suffering is now extreme and will continue even if the virus has lost its power due to its effects on income, relationships and mental health. Those who have given up heroically will need a lot of space to recover themselves.
For this reason, the most painful screaming from the cross is somehow particularly relevant this year. Called into the dark, it was a cry of utter desolation. “My god, my god, why did you leave me?? ”. Throughout his life he has remembered in his mind and memory who he is – the “beloved son” of the father. But now there is no sound from heaven, no sound at all, and the memory must have been almost a mockery.
This feeling of abandonment is certainly something that many of us can identify with, whether in this current crisis or at other times. I definitely can. Deep faith people are not immune, and in many ways the pain is particularly acute for us. When the friendship that has been the thread through your life seems somehow broken, it can feel like everything that held your life together is irreparably breaking up.
Christians believe that at this moment Jesus was paying the highest price for humanity’s ability to do evil, and therefore he could not feel God. At that moment all the violence of the world was there. All broken promises were there. All the murder, all the killing, all the hatred between people, all the injustice. All the theft was there, all the adultery, all the pornography, all the drunkenness, all the bitterness, all the greed, all the gluttony, all the abuse of ourselves or others, all the crime, all the swearing. Every heinous act, every evil thought, every act of selfishness – everything was somehow absorbed by Jesus when he hung on the cross. No wonder it was dark. Certainly darker in his beautiful spirit, the light of the world, than in the physical world around him.
In this special time of year there is surely more for us to endure. At that moment Jesus knew isolation like no other. From any feeling of love, the connection cut off, not only with his father and the spirit, but also from those who stood at the foot of the cross, saw his suffering, but were unable to reach out a hand to give human warmth and reassurance.
But it is in this darkness and isolation that our hope is. In the moments of our deepest fear, our grossest pain, our feeling of isolation, our feeling of being most abandoned, we have a companion who was there and will be there for us. Because of his abandonment, he is there when we feel we have no God. In our own dark Fridays, our own dark days, he understands. There is no place he has not been, and no place he cannot enter with his gentle presence. We cannot feel it at the time, but it is there.
May a feeling of this presence, even in the dark, be your experience in this difficult season and beyond.
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