Sunday, 17 December 2017
A MOTORBIKE revved loudly, someone was sitting in their car with the engine running playing rap music and a group of people walked by scuffling and shouting and being noisy.
It was a Good Friday and I was new to church, trying to take in the horror of that very first Good Friday.
I followed the sequence of events: the beatings and mockery; the thorns of betrayal; and denial as Jesus makes the slow painful walk outside the city walls of Jerusalem towards the agony of crucifixion.
As he hangs there, pinned by nails of scorn and derision, the sky turns black and darkness covers the land. Jesus’ life is eclipsed.
I sat in the cool silence of the service, the outside noise of the town encircling the church walls as people talked and shopped as I had so often done.
The town vicar gave a helpful perspective: “It was probably very much like that first Good Friday 2,000 years ago,” he said. “People would have been going about their business as normal, despite the tragedy that was unfolding. There would have been noise and chatter and many would have been unaware of what was happening.”
And that may feel true for some of us today. It may feel like that for us when tragedy has struck our own lives, when it feels as if all the colour has drained away and we see life in monochrome.
Yet we look around and see others carrying on with their daily lives, shopping, eating, drinking, meeting friends, seemingly unaware of what’s happening to us. And why not? For at one time our lives were like that too.
But for now the darkness of Good Friday remains with us. And yet Easter is about a journey. It is not about remaining standing in one place but moving along a path, along a road, that initially is full of discomfort, disquiet and darkness.
The day that follows Good Friday is often known as Holy Saturday. It is an in-between day, a day of waiting, a day when God seems to be silent.
And waiting is hard; it often means sitting with the unknown, with the uncertain. We may ask ourselves: “Why do we have to wait?” or “How long do we have to wait?”
But as the journey continues into another day, dawn begins to break across the dark night sky, tiny glimmers of hope start to appear, just as they did on the first Easter day as ordinary women and men meet with the Risen Jesus.
The stone of darkness and despair has been rolled away, the sun is no longer eclipsed and we discover that in his resurrection, Jesus has not abandoned us. We are not alone, there is hope. And the light of joy, peace and love floods the world.
I wonder how your journey is looking at the moment — perhaps you are facing challenges, or in a time of waiting, or perhaps life is joyful and good?
I pray that wherever you are, you will know the hope and light and power and presence of the Risen Christ this Easter.
17 April 2017
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