Friday, April 06, 2007
What is Good Friday all about? If you answered, “tradition,” think again! While there are many great traditions associated with this day, such as walking the Stations of the Cross, or watching a passion play, their purpose is to propel us deeper into the mystery of the cross. Today we are asked to enter into Jesus’ passion; we aren’t meant to be bystanders, watching this drama unfold from a distance but participants who are touched and changed by it.
This may be hard for many of us. We may be weighed down with many cares; we may be experiencing through tremendous stress caused by illness, grief, anxiety, or hardship. Or, we may be worried about the sufferings of someone we love. Very few of us don’t have some burden or other. So the idea of getting in step with Jesus and following in his footsteps may not seem very appealing right now. After all, we’ve got enough crosses of our own!
If so, then we are in exactly the right place. For every pain that Jesus endured was endured for us. Everything he suffered during his passion was like a magnet, drawing all of our pain onto himself. “Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted” (Isaiah 53:4). As we follow Jesus along his way of the cross today, we should remember that he is "following us along ours".
When we are in the midst of hardships, we can do more than think about the beauty of the cross. We can call on its power! Jesus’ cross can bring us joy, peace, and even healing, as we release our problems into his care. His arms, spread out for us on Calvary, still call to us: “Come to me!” There is nothing we can face that Jesus hasn’t faced already. He wants to be there with us, not only in our mountaintop experiences but in our valleys as well. He can make us strong, if we but come to him in our weakness and reach for his mercy.
“Lord, I put everything at the foot of your cross—my sickness and pain, my sin, my fears and worries. Help me to look no longer at them but only at your saving love for me!”
Meditation: The Word Among Us
image: The Passion of the Chirst