Friday, April 22, 2011

Thursday Night and Friday Morning

Scripture: John 18:1-19:42
So they took Jesus;and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them.
Yesterday was Thursday; our congregation broke bread together and celebrated what has become known as communion in the context of a meal, just as the scripture tells us Jesus celebrated the very first communion with his disciples on the evening before the day he died. Today's long scripture lesson tells the story of what happens after dinner; how Jesus goes to a garden to pray, accompanied by his disciples, how there is is taken into custody, how the next day he is given a show trial and sentenced to die, a sentence that is carried out immediately; and how he dies on the cross and is buried according to Jewish custom.
The story is a sad one for Christians, but for over a thousand years the Friday on which Jesus died has been observed as a Feast Day. Why is this? For Christians, Christ's Death and Ressurection are forever linked and form one single event. They are like two sides of the same coin. Sadly, this way of thinking is not as widely taught as it perhaps once was. I'm not sure why; maybe because it is kind of hard to wrap our minds around at first, and yet if you think about it, it does make sense--without death there can be no resurrection. Without the seeming defeat of crucifixion on Good Friday there can be no exultation on Easter Sunday. It is for this reason that the Friday of Holy Week has become known as Good Friday. As you go about your business today, coloring Easter eggs or shopping for a new outfit, may you be reminded of what it means to be Easter people, to believe that when all seems lost that victory is at hand.

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