“Christmas and Easter can be subjects for poetry, but Good Friday, like Auschwitz, cannot. The reality is so horrible it is not surprising that people should have found it a stumbling block to faith.”
Good Friday is the day hope was shattered and our language cannot adequately describe the end of hope. And it can be tempting to skip over Good Friday in our pursuit of the Sunday morning, but life doesn’t work like that. We cannot skip the dark night to the dawn.
For those who believed that Jesus was the one they were waiting for, the Jewish Messiah who was going to break Roman rule, Jesus’ death was the end of everything they had hoped for.
As Jesus cried “‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’) hope shattered.
And when hope shatters, very often words do not offer enough comfort. They are not enough to provide a salve for our wounds, nor stem our tears. What we need is the knowledge that we aren’t going through it alone, that someone is there for us to hold onto.
Nights where hope shatters require lament, not consolation.
As J Todd Billings writes:
“We only fully enter lament when we realise that we’re not just expressing ourselves to a human observer but bringing our burdens before the Lord, the Creator, the Almighty who – in light of our distress – is our Deliverer.”
Good Friday does not just teach us Jesus has been through the deepest anguish, it teaches us that it was done for our sakes.
Jesus’ crucifixion was not just about the death of an innocent man, it’s God’s act of saving grace for us.
Despite all the anguish, it’s Good Friday because it’s us that it saved.
It’s Good Friday, because it’s not the end.
There’s more to come.