“When Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open… When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.” -Matthew 27:50-55
Everything for the past year has been different. Life has been turned upside down. We have been isolated, scared, staying home for fear of what might get to us if we aren’t careful. The disciples felt those same feelings the last week of Jesus’ life. Jesus came into Jerusalem to shouts of “Hosanna!” Then went to the temple and made enemies by overturning the moneylender’s tables. He celebrated the Passover meal in a borrowed room with his friends and his betrayer. He washed their feet which was confusing and uncomfortable for the disciples. He prayed all night in the garden and his friends failed to pray with him. They ran away and denied even knowing him. They witnessed his torture and death, then hid out because they were scared the authorities would be coming for them next. As Jesus died, one of the soldiers responsible for his execution exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” Even his enemies realized who he was.
As you read through the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection this week, take some time to remember your feelings over the course of this past year and notice how similar they may be to those of Jesus’ friends. Some of your emotions have been: fear, uncertainty, changing paradigms and missed opportunities. Things have not gone according to our plans this year. We have been sad and lonely. We have been disappointed in our leaders. We have grieved people we love who have died and been denied giving them a “proper” burial. We have been scared and worry about who would be next? And yet, we call Good Friday “good” because the story does not end in death and fear. We experience death and fear in this life, and so it is imperative to acknowledge and honor those feelings as well as look toward new life, resurrection, hope and joy.
We confess to You, our Lord and Savior, that we have betrayed and denied You,
forgotten and doubted You. When our faith is tested, we wonder where You are.
When we see injustice in the world, we often stand by, we turn our backs, we ignore the cries of others. We confess that again and again we deny You and betray You with our silence when we fail to proclaim Your Good News, when we fail to live out Your teachings and love our neighbor as ourselves. Forgive us, O God, and help us to truly repent. Help us to remember Your sacrifice and Your love, and to know Your forgiveness.
In the name of the One who lived, who was crucified, and who lives again, Jesus the Messiah, we pray. Amen.