April 14, 2017 – Good Friday: May God’s words alone be spoken, may God’s words alone be heard. Amen.
We have come to this hour – to this moment – to this night.
This is the time of betrayal, of denial, of death.
Jesus is crucified. It is finished.
This is not why God became incarnate – to be at this moment. The cross isn’t the reason God came into this world. The cross is what we do with truth, and God knew that. God knew that truth is something that we always crucify, but it was a truth that we needed to hear. It is truth we still need to hear – especially in a world of “alternative facts.” You see, we can’t even name lies even in the face of them, but we can sure kill truth, even when in the death of it, we die too.
Who are we in this moment?
For those suffering in their own Good Fridays, you are the beloved disciple and the mother of Jesus, standing at the foot of the cross, carrying the unbearable sight of pain only you know, only you feel – lifted up by those who love you. Lifted up by a God who says that you are not alone – not even in the shadow of the cross.
For others, perhaps you are Peter saying “I am not.” “I am not.” What a contrast to the words Jesus speaks earlier, when he offers the theophany – the words of God “I am.” The original Greek never had “I am he” but only “I am” the words only God would speak – that is why they all fall down before him. And still – he is crucified. But Peter says “I am not” when asked if he was a disciple of Jesus. Tonight, perhaps that is your identity – one who sits alone in the darkness unsure of who you are, lost in a world that seems hopeless.
But all of us are Jesus and all of us are Pilate. The searing pain of the nails of apathy piercing our soul, and slowly dying of suffocation from our own denial of the humanity of those we are called to love and to serve. The words of Eleanor Roosevelt ring true: “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words. It is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.”
And in this world where we kill the body, the mind, the spirit of God’s children and God’s creation every day when we deny the humanity of others, when we abuse the planet– we who are the body of Christ are both crucified, and the ones driving the nails into the rough wood of the cross.
This is the night of our faith – the darkest of our hearts – the silence of the Word that no noise of the outside world can penetrate.
This is the death of truth.
This is the death of light.
This is the death of love.
And if we are to ever understand truth, light, or love, we must experience the death of it – the absence of it. This is not a time to run away. You all know this – you are here. This is not a time to cover our ears or eyes and pretend that there is nothing to see here. This is not the time of Easter. This is the time of not yet.
This is a time to remain in the shadow of the cross, the hour of our deepest darkness.
Do not run away.
For the audio, click here:
The Rev. Diana L. Wilcox
Christ Church in Bloomfield & Glen Ridge
April 14, 2017
Good Friday – Year A
Gospel – John 18:1-19:42