When you click here, you will find our Gospel Reading for Good Friday captured in narrative form. Typically, we read this long Passion Narrative in parts for our service. Since we cannot do that this year, I thought the pictures that accompany this telling of the Passion will help you to enter into the story of Jesus’s betrayal, his arrest, his trial, his torture and his execution. In order to understand the profound gift that Jesus’s resurrection opens for us both now and for eternity that we’ll celebrate at Easter, we first need to journey with him today, Good Friday. We still recognize Good Friday rather than skipping it and going straight to Easter because we are a people who need to physically embody our faith. So here, as a people who truly are in a state of shock because of COVID, we are brought face-to-face with the stark judgment of the Cross: our finitude, our suffering, our uncertainty. With Peter and Judas we are confronted with the question of whose we are, shall we persevere through the Cross to find hope in the resurrection, or shall we stop and cut ourselves off from the living fountain of life, given in the resurrection? Shall we turn away from God in the things we say and allowing our secular world to pretend power and authority in dictating justice, righteousness, and goodness? Or shall we endure through the cockcrows in our own personal lives? This Good Friday, we are in the position – one unique to most of our lives – to ask deep questions about how we are responding to God. As you read through these passages and look at the accompanying pictures, please don’t rush. Take a moment, consider how you fit into the character of Paul, of Judas, of Pilate, of Jesus’s betrayers, of Jesus’s family, of his disciples? Maybe this stark removal from the normal rhythms of life has brought you to realize that you engage other people with fear of something, rather than in faith that you are loved, held, desired, and given purpose by someone far more powerful than today’s Pilate. Maybe it makes you realize that you run from things because you have been hurt by those who taunt, who betray, who misjudge or mischaracterize you. Is that running really serving you? Or has it left you in the place of Jesus’s people here and Pilate: unable to see truth, to be held in that truth in love, to forgive yourself, or others, and to move on with hope? There are so many ways we fit into all the figures we encounter in this Gospel reading. Take the time to enter into them. And once you’ve done that, take the time to pray to God to give you the capacity to endure the shock of a world turned upside down by COVID, by Good Friday, and the potential it opens to be transformed, pulled up from the grave where sin leaves you, into the Easter Hope we shall celebrate Sunday. AMEN.
The Rev. Dr. LEigh Silcox
Born in Windsor, ON, Leigh moved around Northern and Southern Ontario during his childhood. He attended North Carolina State University to play soccer, but after repeated injuries, instead took up mountain biking, road cycling, bouldering, trail running and hiking, which he continues to do to this day.