Good Friday Lockdown
Friday 10th April 2020 @ 9:48 am
““Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani”
“God, God, why? Why have you forsaken me.””
Theologically, it’s an incredible statement, and people will preach about it all around the world today. The pain of sacrifice. The absolute lowering of God in Christ to human action and punishment. The [too] incredible nature of divine life voluntarily laid down is in many ways too incredible to contemplate.
God, giving of Godself to human retribution and action? Really?
All the theological books in the world mean nothing when the pain of abandonment and loss is yours.
When you have been mistreated, misrepresented, misunderstood, considered a failure or a loser or less than the beautiful creation of God that you are.
In those moments the audacity of clever theological frameworks to give a clever rational answer mean nothing, but …
…maybe, just maybe … the suffering of God can speak of something.
Of everything else which whispers to us today, the voice whispers
“You, are not alone.”
The one who became absolutely abandoned, did so partly in order that you may know you are not alone. God does understand.
Maybe, just, maybe today, in the midst of the darkness that is Good Friday you can remember that not far off there is a shaft of light coming through the trees. Unexpected but welcome and life–giving.
However, a hint.
Don’t jump too soon.
We know ‘Sunday’s a coming.’ We know that light and life will call all things unto itself, we know that ‘all will be well and all will be well and all manner of things shall be well,” we know that viruses will pass and vaccines will be found. But we cannot get to Sunday without going through Friday.
We cannot get through lockdown until, well, we are through lockdown.
To jump through Friday and Saturday is to miss the full story, and to miss half the experience of simply being human.
These dark Easter days lead to the dawn of new life on Sunday.
These lockdown days will lead to days of safety ahead when family and friends will embrace again.
what we see on Good Friday on the cross,
this is not the end.
So stay a while.
If you are brave enough, embrace something of the loss and grief.
Open yourself in prayer and meditation to experience something of the depths of divine abandonment and how it touches human experience.
It’s not a stretch in these lockdown days.
In lockdown days,
when doors are shut,
when people will cross a road to avoid being in any way close to you,
when tensions rise and where suspicion reigns,
when busy streets are quieter than they are at 4.30am in the morning.
In lockdown days where friends are burying loved ones. Or rather are not, because they are not allowed to be present.
In lockdown days that you know you will never forget, because you have never seen the like of it before.
In these lockdown days, it is not unreachable to feel abandonment in the air.
So stay a while.
Consider the cross.
For it is from that place of cruel injustice where a whole new existence will stir. It is from that place of loss, sadness, grief and unwanted cruelty, that new realities will sneak.
Maybe, just maybe, a whole new thing can begin to actuate in these days?
‘Be mindful of how unmindful’ our current lived experiences would have seemed only six months ago. Ask yourself would you have believed a friend in September if they told you one third of your school/college year was going to be unhinged? What would you have replied if someone had told you, “don’t worry, you’ll not have to do your exams at the end of this year?”
The cross has things to say about unimaginable.
The all–powerful God of the universe subject to human will and action?
That is scandalous.
If you think it makes sense I humbly suggest you revisit it again.
The all powerful God of the universe is subject to human will and action? It should not be that way. God is God, we are not.
God knows our pain yet is also ultimately unknowable and beyond us.
That too is hard to fathom.
Close and far.
Intimate and distanced.
All hard to fathom
Yet are true, held by faith.
Both these things are real.
Accordingly, we live in the tension. Holding onto faith, while faith pushes and pulls in different directions, bidding us to be present to the moment.
The cross in that place, can then become something beyond the moment, beyond a historical murder, pushing further than ‘me and my,’ but inviting ‘me and my’ to be intertwined with its story. Making God’s story, our story.
God knows and is never far from my pain, my questions, my struggles.
While at the same time being shrouded in mystery and unknown–ness.
We hold both these things to be true.
The absolute power of God, sitting front and centre with the absolute laying down of that power.
And that, shows us what real power really is.
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