Reflections on Good Friday*

See, as they strip the robe from off his back
And spread his arms and nail them to the cross,
The dark nails pierce him and the sky turns black,
And love is firmly fastened onto loss.
But here a pure change happens. On this tree
Loss becomes gain, death opens into birth.
Here wounding heals and fastening makes free
Earth breathes in heaven, heaven roots in earth.
And here we see the length, the breadth, the height
Where love and hatred meet and love stays true
Where sin meets grace and darkness turns to light
We see what love can bear and be and do,
And here our saviour calls us to his side
His love is free, his arms are open wide.

~Malcolm Guite, Stations of the Cross, XI Crucifixion: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross

Only the Passion and death of Jesus can reconcile
those two apparently irreconcilable truths:
that God is in love with us,
and that at some point in our lives
     we will experience suffering, pain and dereliction.
Either God was not in Christ and the Cross
   is the ultimate symbol of all the meaninglessness that can destroy us,
     the absence of God, the triumph of secular powers.
Or God was in Christ
    and the Cross is the final word of a God who shares the pain and the dirt,
      the loneliness and the weakness,
         even the frightening sense of desolation and death
  we may be called upon to experience ourselves.
That was the audacious claim of the first Christians,
  that God is now revealed as the one who pours himself out in love,
     a serving, foot-washing, crucified God,
          whose love cannot be altered or diminished.
~Michael Mayne, A Year Lost and Found (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1987

A  Prayer for Good Friday
from Wendell Berry and the Sabbath Poetry of Lent

God of mercy, forgive us.
We have destroyed what we were given in trust.
Help us to heal, and change, and begin again.


*Our congregation has no Holy Week service this year.
Instead, our April 2 Palm Sunday Service included reading through the Passion of Jesus as told by the Gospel of Matthew. You can find the service here. The reading of the passion begins at 23:10.