Some thoughts for Good Friday from David Clitheroe
A Thought for Good Friday
Generally, we are not good at living in the moment, being alert to NOW. Where we have come from, what has got us where we are and what the future will bring, what aspirations and worries we have, are generally able to squeeze out simply being here now. Jesus knew this as he insisted “The Kingdom of God is within/among you” It is here now.
Good Friday calls us to ‘be here now’. This year, in the present crisis and the enforced inactivity it brings for many, there may be more opportunity to do that. However, it is my experience that we often move from Gethsemane to Easter morning as quickly as we can.
Part of our rush is to get through the sheer imperial brutality and inhumanity of crucifixion. Standing at the foot of the cross is to have to face the depth of ‘man’s inhumanity to man’. It is being required to stand in on the torture of another human being. It is also, as was true for Jesus, to feel abandoned by God. This year many across the world parted from saying farewell to dying loved ones; or crouched in a Syrian refugee camp or isolated and afraid for whatever reason, will share that experience.
If we do find the courage to stand at the foot of the cross, with the soldiers inured to the brutality of their profession; with the women whose care for this man followed him closely until he is laid in his tomb; with the ‘crowd chasers’ [there are always a few aren’t there] ready to add their voice to the ‘fake news’ of their time; with those crucified along- side Jesus, what do we notice?
For Luke’s Gospel it is the centurion who sees beyond the horror. The representative of the imperial power, of the state. “Surely this was a righteous man”. And for us to ‘be here now’ is to also recognise that this is not just Jesus the man on the cross but the Christ. God identifies so completely with humanity that God abandons God. This means that even in those darkest places where everything deserts us but our fear and anxiety God is with us.