It’s Good Friday. For centuries this day was known as Black Friday, with good reason. Today we commemorate the darkest day in all of human history.
PRAYER: (from the Lectionary)
“Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever, AMEN.”
PRAYER FOCUS: Our Silence
“He said he was the Son of God. How could he be dead?” #Shock.
“They’re saying he was a false prophet. What if they want to stone us?” #Fear.
“He was our friend, our teacher. He loved us.” #Pain.
“And we ran away when he needed us.” #Shame.
The followers of Jesus were thunderstruck. Their world was rocked. They were hiding. None of them had stood by the one they called Lord. Not one had so much as raised his voice.
Except Peter–ha! Peter the sword-wielding fisherman had shouted “I never knew him!”
The only bright spot in their litany of failure was that John had somehow found the gumption to accompany the women—including Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene—to Golgotha for the end.
The bravest men Jesus had in Jerusalem that day were members of the Sanhedrin—Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. The two of them had risked their lives, their fortunes and their families to take his dead corpse away from Golgotha. They buried him nearby, in a new tomb Joseph had made for himself. They hadn’t even had time to properly anoint the body before the Sabbath was upon them.
The vile Romans had promptly placed a large stone in front of the tomb’s entrance and ordered a detachment of armed guards “to protect the grave from looting by his followers.”
As if! You mean the same “followers” who fled silently into the night when Judas brought the Temple Guard to arrest him?
Who were his friends among the Sanhedrin when he stood before them, falsely accused of blasphemy? Ah, yes–the silent ones.
Where were his supporters in the streets of Jerusalem while others in the crowd cried “Give us Barabbas!” and “Crucify him!”? Silence there, too.
And we–yes, we–who would so quickly judge them in their day, how many times have we stood just like them–silently–while the mockers mock and the liars lie about the One we know is Faithful and True? Where are our voices?
Somewhere in the thundering silence hangs the answer.
It’s Good Friday. Thank God.
1. The Catholic Church treats Good Friday as a day of fasting, as does the Eastern Orthodox Church. Adult Orthodox Christians are expected to abstain from all food and drink the entire day to the extent that their health permits. As Protestants ourselves, we admire and agree with this church tradition. We pray you will consider it.
2. In observance of Good Friday, we will have our header photo blacked out until Easter morning.