Today, the Christian world commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus. As Mormons, we don’t have much of a Good Friday tradition, but I like to think about it when it comes around. It’s a lovely reminder of what is most important.
The blood spilled in Gethsemane reminds me of the sorrow of this world. May I remember the holy purpose of suffering. May I swallow my own Bitter Cup. May I remember that the trials and turmoil of mortality make me more fit for the Kingdom of God.
The betrayal in the Garden reminds me of my own temptations to sell the Master for recognition or anger or jealousy or greed. May Christ be the only God I worship. May I be ever loyal to Him.
The humiliation of the Cross reminds me of the price of sin. He was lifted up as a symbol of the pain we inflict on each other. He was lifted up to remind us that when we hurt, so does He. He was lifted up to draw us unto Him. May I heed His invitation. May I kneel at the foot of the Cross.
The burial in the Tomb reminds me that all that is corrupt must vanish. May I bury my own Natural Man. May I lay it to rest with Him.
Good Friday is the furnace of the Lord’s affliction. It is a reminder that we all must walk through sorrow on our way to Resurrection Morning.
My sister posted this video today on Facebook. It is really interesting — well worth the 10 minutes you’ll spend on it.
One thought. The narrator here argues that there is no empathy in heaven, for in heaven there is no suffering. I’m not so sure. See Moses 7, the Beatitudes, or think of Christ’s agony in Gethsemane and on the cross. I believe that if the scriptures teach anything, it is that our God is a God who suffers.
God is love, the scriptures teach. And as anyone who has loved can attest, that does not come without sorrow.
For R, M, and D
I recently studied The Beatitudes in a class I’m taking on the life of Christ. I think they’re the most beautiful expressions of how to really live that I’ve ever heard — and one in particular struck me this time through:
Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Jesus always surprises me. On face value, His teachings never make much sense, for He operates in a world of paradox and parables. Blessed are they that mourn? What’s so great about mourning? Surely Jesus isn’t suggesting some sort of masochistic approach to life, that when we’re hurting, we’re happy…is He?
2010 has been something of a rough year. I don’t say this to be dramatic or to elicit sympathy and pity: people have rough years. This was one of mine. But even at its darkest, I have seen purpose in it, have recognized that God is tearing away more and more of what I thought I needed but that I don’t, so that more and more of who He made me to be can be displayed with clarity.
Still, December 23 had me on the phone with my sister. Again. In tears. Again. Wondering how I could celebrate Christmas with all its joy and spectacle when I felt so distant from anything remotely resembling it.
Then I remembered. For all the lights and tinsel, for all the sparkling packages and clanking bells, for all the Hallelujah choruses, the decadent food, the elaborate parties, the ugly sweaters with sequins and snowmen and swirls — we are honoring the birth of a God who, ultimately, came to suffer; and in His sufferings, triumph.
That is not to say the triumph doesn’t deserve the joy and gaiety we lavish upon it; merely that this year I needed to focus on the humility of His beginning and the depth of His condescension — so lowly, so meek, that He came to meet me where I am.
So to the God born in a barn, not in a palace, not in a hospital, not even a clean bed, and laid to sleep in a feeding trough: Thank You. You have no beauty that I should desire You, You who are smitten and afflicted, bruised and forsaken — and yet I do. From the depths of my soul, I do!