Good Friday Uplift – April 14, 2017

Posted on Posted in Friday Uplift

I normally post on the Wednesday after they get emailed out, but today is Good Friday, and next week we’ll be well into Easter so I’m posting today, when it makes the most sense.

But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

It’s Good Friday in the church.
A day where we observe and remember the death of Jesus.
I think I speak for all of us when I say, it’s not really the best day for the church.
We call it “Good” but it’s anything but.
It’s hard.
It’s uncomfortable.
It’s sad.
I’ve always had problems with people telling me that I should be happy that Jesus died for my sins.
I’ve heard this a lot:
Jesus died for you.
And it never once made me feel good.
I just felt bad.
And guilty.

So no. I don’t think today is good.

And you know what?  I think that’s ok.
I think we need to feel how bad things got before we can really do the joy of Easter.
We need to be right in the middle of how bad this day is in our history as followers of Jesus.
As author Danielle Shroyer says, “we killed God you guys.  This is really bad.”
She also says we need to go all the way down before we can really rise up.
This is the uplift.
And I spend a lot of time reminding us that God is with us and that we’re going to be ok.
I believe that, I do.
But for just today.
We’re going to sit in the bad.
In how crappy things are.
How this isn’t how we thought our lives would go.
How it isn’t fair.
We need to go all the way down before we can come back up.

As I listen to the story of the arrest and torture and killing of our God on this day,
I hear all the ways in which I fall short.
All the bad.
How I’m like Peter, and can’t handle the pressure and so I deny my beliefs.
How I’m like the disciples, and run scared at the first bit of difficulty I face.
How I’m like Judas, and sell my very life for a little more… power, money, etc.
How I’m like Pilate, and see the injustice around me but I don’t want to get involved so I just wash my hands.
How I’m like the crowd, and follow the tides of mob mentality as they turn.
Even how I’m like Jesus, begging God to give this journey to someone else.
Oh do I see myself in this story.
And I feel bad.

Jurgen Moltmann said that “the cross cannot and will not be loved.”
So we don’t have to be happy and joyful that Jesus died for us.
We can be sad, and feel the full weight of what happened on this day.
Because Jesus knew.
Jesus knew what was going to happen and didn’t change his mind.
While we (yes WE) were still sinners,
while we were turning against him and selling him out and running away,
At our very worst selves…
That’s when Jesus died for us.
To change the way things worked.
To make a new system.
A system based on love.
So that we may be handed new life instead of the death we actually deserve.

So today, go to church.
Even though it’s not happy.
Even though it makes us feel bad.
It’s ok.
Go all the way down.
And then come back on Sunday.
What goes down does come up.
Christ will win.
Death does not.
It will be time to rise,
and we’ll be able to rise anew,
with joy for having gone all the way down.