Good Friday, 2023

“God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.”

II Corinthians 5:19

This is a day of mystery. An overwhelming sense of silent awe needs to be within each of us. God, forgive me when I think I understand all that happened on Calvary and at the tomb so long ago. Your ways are far higher than mine, and there are truths too deep for me to grasp with my finite mind.

I only know that reverence fills me this morning. To think that the God of the Universe reconciled Heaven and Earth through one gift of sacrificial love is beyond me. There are so many ways we try to explain it, and we have developed vast theologies of The Atonement. But the ultimate truth still is too great for us. All I can do is bow my head in gratitude.

I do know that without this day, which is too often bypassed as we rush toward Sunday, the other high holy days are pointless. Christmas and Easter mean nothing if Good Friday never happened. Without the Cross, where God took into the Divine Self all the sin, pain, evil, shame and guilt of the entire human race, we would be hopeless. Our Maker and Savior absorbed it all, not only for the chosen few who think they have all the right words and beliefs, but for the whole world.

This is a truth I tried to share with congregations when I was their pastor. During those twenty-five years, those sincere and loving men and women listened to my sermons, my teaching, and my counsel in their times of joy and sorrow, delight and despair, and the seasons of planting and harvesting. My message was consistent: the Cross is the Crossroads of time and eternity. The intersection where all the chaos and confusion of disharmony is resolved. It is the place of Armistice and Peacemaking. And it all flows from the mercy of God. The Lord of the stars and the galaxies invites all of us to come to the place of reuniting and lay our burdens down.

If God’s grace is what I believe it is, then this message is for everyone struggling to walk the right path in life. A friend of mine was once counseling a young man who rejected everything about the Bible and the Christian faith. My colleagues words to him were, “God loves you even if you never darken the door of a church. And Jesus died for you, whether you like it or not.”

That is what I think this day is all about. Everyone is welcome to receive the gift that brings peace and hope to all. That is my prayer on this Good Friday. And remember. It was the darkest day in human history, but we call it good because of the deep and divine meaning of it. And it was followed by the Resurrection, the Springtime for every soul who ever lived.