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  • Writer's pictureChurch of the Incarnation

Good Friday: We are Pilate; We are the Jeering Crowds; We are Judas; We are those in need of healing

Not my will but yours be done, Father. This is the first and greatest commandment. This love means obeying the Father. And what does the Father desire? The Father desires us. You and me. He desires us to love him not because he’s selfish or entitled or controlling. He desires us to love him because that love would create a society in which every single one of us in concert - like a professional Symphony - could act in perfect harmony with one another. 

A collective life in which every individual was without pain, anger, envy, jealousy, fear or suffering; where everyone had a purpose that mattered in equal measure; where no one was over or underworked and no one experienced the stress of trying to care for too many things or people with not enough help or resources; where no one felt rushed by horrible traffic trying to get to too many meetings and appointments while endless trucks block the roads with people’s online orders. A collective life where children smile at friends and parents who have the time and energy to smile back rather than seeing a screen as an early escapist tool from people so preoccupied with producing the next thing so they can earn a salary large enough to put a shelter over their family’s head and put food on the table. A collective life where people remember that their entire value and worth is held not by their boss or their co-workers or even parents or friends, but by the source of all being and all goodness: God himself. 

We are invited into this Passion story of Jesus’s not to see the lives of people from the past: Jesus, Judas, Pilate, Peter, the disciples, the Jews. We are invited into this Passion story because you and I live this exact story every single day. You and I are sometimes Pilate, filled with, “I should know better but I’m going to bend to the whims of my society instead” mentality. You and I are sometimes Judas, every time we hold grudges or hold onto our anger or lash out at people with criticism and contempt. We betray the forgiveness and grace that Jesus has provided to us and we instead point to our own fear and frustration and lack of trust that Jesus has us, loves us, forgives us, and asks us to share this with others. And we turn people away from God; people who hurt and struggle, and are doing their best, just like us. Sometimes we’re like the Jews, clinging to the way we’ve always done things because it gives us a sense of control, and so meaning and purpose. But like the Jews, doing this absolutely blinds us to Jesus to the point we demand that the very core of our faith - Jesus himself - be eradicated and replaced with our own socialising, our own customs, our own practices, that we actually believe is about building up the church, when it’s really about what makes us feel comfortable and in control. 

Not my will but yours be done, Father. As we enter this day that marks our putting Jesus to death on the Cross. As we reflect on the ways in which we participate in this. As we look forward with penitent hope to Easter Day where Jesus overcomes all of our broken ways, let us pray to God to reveal to us how we might change the way we speak and act, the way we think and work; let us pray that God would remove from our hearts and minds the things that we cling to that blind us to seeing Jesus in our midst. Let us pray that he would reveal to us how we, as a church, are being reformed by the Holy Spirit into Christ’s body, for showing not what we have been in the past, but who Jesus Christ is in this place at this time, here and now in 2024. AMEN   

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