Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday, 2010

Psalm 22: 1-11

The psalm is a song of Israel’s desolation, and yet deeply at the same time of Israel’s hope. Despair, defeat, humiliation—and then somehow in the midst of it all arising a spirit of assurance, confidence in the salvation sure to come in the one who has shown himself faithful from ancient times.

Be not far away, O LORD;
you are my strength; make haste to help me.

The story that unfolds before us this day is so familiar. Painfully familiar. We know every detail, every dark shadow. It never gets any easier. Every tortured step, from the Garden to the Cross, and we are weighed-down once again by the weight of the whole world. The turmoil around us. Economic dislocation. So many families and communities in distress. Political polarization. Increasing levels of hostility. A broken sense of orderly governance. Terrorism. War and rumors of war. Distress in the Church. The dismemberment of the Body. And how all of that and more will sweep around us, shape our lives. Enter even into our hearts.

We might be tempted to run away. Like most of the disciples, apparently. Certainly we are tempted to run away. Yet something keeps us here. Something brings us back, again and again. Again and again. Year after year. And we die with him, again and again.

I have been entrusted to you ever since I was born;
you were my God when I was still in my mother’s womb.

Be not far from me, for trouble is near,
and there is none to help.

The Cross stands up in this hour on that hill beyond the wall of the city, and it is the center of the world, and we are drawn to it, the few who remain of us, as the dark clouds gather overhead. Searching in our memories, searching in our hearts for answers, for the answer. What is the answer? Who is the answer? In the brokenness of his body, in the blood poured out for us in an offering we can barely begin to understand. Offered by him in his faithfulness to the very end.

By his blood he reconciles us. By his wounds we are healed.

We would stand here, force ourselves to stand here, at the foot of his Cross, in this difficult hour, and to open our eyes, for him, open our ears, for him, and our minds, and our hearts. Bringing it all with us. Our home and our families. Wives and husbands, parents and children. Neighbors, friends. Church and world. Bringing it all with us, laying it on the altar, at the foot of his Cross. Today. In this hour. Praying with him as best we can this prayer of our hearts.

Be not far away, O LORD;
you are my strength; make haste to help me.

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