Day 39: Good Friday
Day 39. Seek God in Time of Trouble
Adapted from Psalm 143. Hear my prayer, Oh Lord. Give ear to my supplications! Answer me in Your faithfulness and in Your righteousness. I feel crushed and persecuted by the enemy. He has crushed my life to the ground and made me dwell in dark places. Therefore, my spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart is desolate within me. I stretch out my hands to You, my soul longs for You. Answer me quickly, Oh Lord, as my spirit fails. Do not hide Your face from me…Let me hear Your loving kindness in the morning, for I trust in You. For the sake of Your name, revive me. In Your righteousness, bring my soul out of trouble…For I am Your servant. In all things, Your will be done, Amen.
Loneliness is one of the hardest challenges humanity faces. As our Lenten journey comes to an end, we observe Good Friday—the day when Jesus was executed. Jesus walks among the people, telling them that God’s plans for the world are peace on earth. However, the people in power decided to kill Jesus and abandon God’s way.
Jesus ends up alone—as even his apostles deny, desert and disappoint him.
What can we learn from Good Friday? What can we learn from the apostles who want Jesus to fight back and who run away when he dos not?
For me, Good Friday is a sober reminder that Jesus loves everyone. Jesus loves the apostles who deny, desert and disappoint him. He loves the people who persecute him. He loves. Eventually the apostles will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and form the Church. That Church is meant to be God’s gift in the world—a place where people can come to know how God acts in relationships. The church teaches how God the Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit is the inseparable Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer of God’s Universe. No one can separate us from God; God will never deny, desert or disappoint us. Jesus walked among us to assure us that God is real and never leaves our side.
The reality is that we live in a pluralistic society. Human beings seek all kinds of ways to understand the purpose of life. I firmly believe that Our Lord, Jesus the Christ, who observed the Jewish traditions and taught from the ancient Hebrew Scriptures, works through anything that brings God’s goodness into this world. I remember well participating in a Bible study at the Cedars in Washington D.C. We were a group of international women, from all over the world. I suggested that each of us describe what our faith tradition and country was like. Then the time came when we asked, “How can we use what we are learning to help people live in peace?” The Japanese ambassador’s wife spoke first. She said—"if we follow the life of Jesus—we will not go wrong. He lived in a way that showed how to live in peace." I was amazed. If I had said that, as a Christian pastor, it would not have had the same effect. Everyone in the room—while they all practiced different ways of worship—agreed that the life of Jesus was worth examining.
On Good Friday I ask, “Who do you say Jesus is?”