It’s Good Friday, and in this coronavirus time, we’re not gathering in our churches for the Stations of the Cross or for the services we’re used to. We’re not venerating the Cross or singing the solemn songs together. It may be harder for Christians to enter into the Story than it’s been in Holy Weeks past, but then again, maybe it’s not as hard as you might think.
Are you finding yourself breathless at how things can change so quickly? One minute everything is going great, on course and according to plan and then the next: chaos, darkness and fear? Are you questioning much of what you thought you knew? The early disciples felt that same way for sure, when their friend was one day welcomed as a king and then tried and tortured the next.
Are you profoundly disappointed and angry with some of your leaders, both in the government and the church? Does it seem like maybe they’re in it for themselves, manipulating the crowds and grabbing power when they should be about the welfare of the people? Does it feel like the system is just not working well, or justly, and you can’t count on the people who are in charge to do the right thing? Does it all seem upside-down, unfair, and out of control? Do you wish you could wipe the slate clean and start again but have no idea how to even begin?
Are you terrified? Do you want more than anything to run away from the current reality? Do you not know what to believe and have no idea what will happen next? Do you wish you could help in what seems like a truly helpless situation, but find your fear blocking your action? Are you ashamed at your behavior in a crisis, how you’ve fallen short when it really counted and wish you could do something different?
Are you trying hard to hold onto your faith even when everything around you looks dark? Do you feel profoundly misunderstood in how you are reacting to the current crisis?
Are you balancing out two very different narratives of one big reality, weighing what is true and agonizing over a decision only you can make?
Are you watching someone you love suffer as you’re unable to get to them or even touch them? Are you holding their gaze with your eyes over a distance and praying that that limited connection will be enough for now? Are you desperately worried about this dear one and wish you could take on their suffering, but know it’s a road they must walk alone?
Are you looking at how this situation is moving and shifting with every hour, and want to end up on a winning side? Are you, for every logical reason there can be, making sure you have enough in a time of scarcity and opportunism?
Would you much rather stay out of the whole thing for all the right reasons, but you’ve been pressed into service anyway, carrying a load that is much heavier than you can handle but trying to do your best with it, step by step?
Simon of Cyrene.
Are you astounded at how some people are just carrying on as usual when this big thing is happening which has completely changed life as you knew it?
And oh, I hope this isn’t so, but are you alone, struggling for breath, with your choices evaporating? Does faith feel like a battle you’re fighting minute by minute? Are you deciding to forgive others and trust God, as though these are literally the only things that still matter?
Is the nature and dignity of burial something that newly concerns you?
Joseph of Arimathea.
Are you stuck in a place with a small group of people, afraid, with the doors closed to outsiders? Do you know this is all much more than you can handle by yourself, and desperately need rescue, direction, and help? Do you have a feeling nothing will ever be the same after this? Do you worry about what life will look like tomorrow?
The Disciples in the Upper Room.
There is a timeless reality in the human condition and sometimes we can see it, our daily lives echoing history and finding that very little changes after all. We might find ourselves as a blend of these Biblical characters tonight, in our reaction and response to our current trial. And it might change hour by hour, with the news and our own circumstance. But as it does, maybe we can find more clarity and more presence with the Story as it becomes our story. Maybe in these strange days, we’ll find ourselves open to the possibility of a miracle for the first time in our lives, because we see now how little control we’ve had all along. We have finally come close to the end of ourselves, and with open eyes, we see our need, and all the things we can’t accomplish on our own.
Maybe this year, we’re really ready for Resurrection.