Good Friday 2019

We stand before the Cross of Christ and see the verdict of God on sin and sinners. How terrible is sin? This is how terrible sin is. How loved are we sinners? This is how much we are loved.

At His birth He was called Emmanuel, “God with us,” and on the Cross we see His full commitment to that being-with-us. He went all the way; He took it all. Not content to live our life, His oneness with us would not be complete until He died our death. He was laid on the wood of the manger having taken our flesh, to be with us. He was nailed to the wood of the Cross having taken our suffering, refusing to abandon that being-with-us.

He refuses to abandon us even to the point of feeling our abandonment.

Here bleeds the only innocent man because He would not give up on being with us, and because He would not give up trust in His Father. Even in the feeling of abandonment, even to death, He stayed on the Cross. Even though the blasphemous thief and the mocking crowd taunted Him to come down, and even though He indeed could have summoned legions of angels to deliver Him, He stayed on the Cross. It was the Father’s will and He knew that faithful love would win in the end. He knew it would not be wasted.

What if you believed the same? What if you believed that the Father can accept and redeem and use the cross that you are carrying right now? That any hurt, even the suffering that like the repentant thief we have brought on ourselves, can be joined to the Cross of Christ?

This is a challenge of faith put to us here at the foot of the Cross. It is a challenge of trust. Do you trust that God can bring good from what you’re going through, from what your loved ones are going through? If you offer it in union with the Cross of Christ, as a member of His Body redeeming the world, do you believe God can bring good from cancer? Do you trust that God can work redemption through your battle with anxiety or depression? Do you trust Him to so something beautiful and good with your loneliness, something that if you could see it, you would gratefully say it’s worth it? If you feel dry and empty of spiritual consolation and feelings of closeness to God, can you trust Him to do something amazing with your brave faithfulness in that spiritual desert?

These are a few examples, but you and God truly know the cross you have carried into church tonight. In a moment you will approach the Cross in veneration. Everyone who walks up this aisle will bring with you a cross of your own… but you are part of His Body, so your cross is part of His. They can not be divided. To truly venerate and love His Cross, you must venerate and love your own share in it. Will you offer yours as a participation in His, making them one and the same?

Jesus, accept my cross as part of Yours to save the world. Some of it has been laid on me by others or by the world; some of it is my own fault. I offer all of it to You, and with You, and I trust that You will not let it be for nothing. I trust that you will use it and do something so beautiful and amazing that, if I could see it, I would rejoice to carry every bit of it for as long as I have to. I trust that one day, I will see it and will spend eternity in grateful praise. You stayed on the Cross because You knew that Easter was coming. I believe it, too. I don’t ask for more suffering or for less, for shorter or longer or different or the same. I only ask to be close to You. Your Cross was not for nothing, and neither is mine.

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