Friday, April 3, 2015

The Seven Last Words: A Good Friday Meditation

Experiencing my local clergy group's Ecumenical Good Friday Service was such a meaningful worship experience. We shared the seven last words of Christ, utilizing a resource brought to our attention by a friend and colleague in the group, Sudie Blanchard, edited by her husband Peter Blanchard from the sermons written by his father the Bishop Roger Blanchard.  

I've seen the story of Jesus' last days enacted by actors, very dramatically portraying these final moments of Jesus' human life. Some that were staged as memorial services for Jesus. Sometimes Mary would drop a rose at the front of the Sanctuary, pause and return to her seat in tears. I've been to many good Good Friday Services in my last seven years in ministry, and yet this experience was unique from all the rest.

Rt. Rev. Roger Blanchard was beautifully poetic in retelling the story of our faith once again, and humanity's failure to love God as we have been loved. Each of Jesus' last words were spoken readers theatre style by the voices of clergy from different Christian traditions.

What I was struck about in this telling of the story was the return to the beginning of it all, the Creation narrative moving forward. Telling of God's action over and over again to remind humankind that we are beloved. And humanity's ignorance of God's love, and so Jesus, God incarnate, was birthed into the world, not turning away from the daunting task of living and dying, but reminding us again of God's unending LOVE.

As Maundy Thursday is a reminder of the mandate for us to LOVE, as we have been loved, for me Good Friday was filled to the brim with God's love for us creatures, us imperfect, broken people. The me that struggles to LOVE, especially those I dislike, the me that doesn't want to forgive the judgmental, the me that betrays Christ, scared for my own neck, not living authentically, and turning my back to violence when I know I should speak-up and speak truth to power. Yep. I stand convicted. This is what Good Friday is about.

Overwhelmed with my powerlessness, I give thanks for LOVE.

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