Merv’s Musings

 

They shouted 

“Crucify him 

crucify him!”

Pilate asked 

“Shall I crucify

your King ?”

The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.”

Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus;

and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to The Place of the Skull 

There they

crucified him

and with him

two others,

one on either

side with Jesus

between them.

Pilate also had

an inscription

written and put

on the cross.

It read “Jesus

of Nazareth, the

King of the Jews.

They shouted, “Crucify him.  Crucify him!”

Pilate asked “Shall I crucify your King ?”

The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.”

Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.  So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to The Place of the Skull.

There they crucified him and with him two others, one on either side with Jesus between them.

Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. 
It read “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”

 

Leading up to Good Friday my heart is troubled with questions!

Why does Jesus allow himself to be condemned?  Why does Jesus, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, show himself clothed with weakness?  Why does Jesus let himself be the victim of pride, insolence and human arrogance? 

Why does He allow himself to go through such pain, and agony, and  humiliation?  

And maybe even more mysterious, Why does God remain silent?

God’s silence pains us!  Many of you know what I am talking about.  It is at the heart of our testing and trial.  

As a Country, as a Province, as a City, as Individuals; we feel that we are being tested.  This Covid-19 pandemic has turned our world upside down. Isolation, loneliness, sickness, and fear of the unknown has jolted us into one of the biggest ordeals our present day world has encountered.  As the pandemic continues to worsen, in our darkest moments, we might feel God is silent!

Over the years I have spoken with parishioners who were going through trials in their life and I spoke of St. John of the Cross.  He made famous the phrase: “The dark night of the soul”.

 The dark night of the soul engulfs only silence and we wonder:  where are you God?  Where have you led us?  Why do we find ourselves in such circumstances?  Why do we suffer so?  Why must we go through such a trial? 

Why O God have you forsaken us?

And in our circumstance, we find ourselves immersed only in silence!  However, in the midst of this silence, we are often given a time to reflect on what is going on around us. 

God’s silence is the soil in which our true faith springs up; a humble faith!  A faith which does not challenge God but surrenders to him with childlike trust.  It is here in the silence, we have nowhere to turn but to look back and see the history that we have developed with our God.  The relationship that has grown.

This relationship story is found within the experience of the People of God. It is seen over and over from the very beginning of time.  The people of God have always been challenged in times of silence. 

The Israelites would forever remember the Exodus from Egypt. At the Sedar Passover meal the young child would ask: “Papa, what is so special about this night”?  And the Father would say: “Remember when”!  “Remember when God delivered us!  When God heard our cries!  When God led us and encouraged us”!

There lies within the church the knowledge that God is with us.  God promises in the Bible that He will never abandon us or forsake us!  Even in silence, we are to remember His promises!  Even Jesus went through a time of silence on the cross and cried out: “Why God, why have you forsaken me”? 

The scene from the cross always touches me emotionally on Good Friday.  However, this year, the respiratory distress in Covid-19 patients gives more pronounced meaning.  Our TV reports nightly of the patients on ventilators struggling to breath because of the virus.  Grasping for a breath of air. Meditating upon the cross, I believe Jesus knows exactly how those with breathing issues feel, because of His experience on the Cross.

Today, we are faced with an unprecedented situation caused by an unseen enemy.  It is times as these we often ask the question why?  
The problem is that we want to have an answer and there seems to be none.  We, like everyone else, have a difficult time dealing with a God who, on the one hand, is supposed to be loving and kind, yet on the other hand, allows seemingly innocent people to suffer.  

Good Friday is perhaps the best time of the year to speak of these things.  The events of this day some 2000 years ago speak of evil, tragedy and sorrow.  Jesus is arrested on trumped-up charges and then hauled off to be executed in a long, painful, and humiliating way.  And the questions asked that day is still ask today. “Why?”  Why did this happen?  Why did God allow it?  Why didn’t God do something to stop it?  
Even Jesus asks the question. “My God, My God, why – why have you forsaken me?”
 Good Friday does not allow for easy answers?  To face the cross is to face our worst fears – fears that life is meaningless, full of failure, suffering and death.  And if Good Friday is all there is, then we as Christians would be the most depressed and depressing people on Earth.  But we know Good Friday is not the whole story?  We know that there is a Resurrection Sunday.  It is a day of victory. We call it Easter. As Tony Campola says: This may be Friday but Sunday is a Coming!
  And so on Good Friday we can ask God the big questions about really bad things.  But we must also ask God about the good things as well.  Why joy?  Why hope?  Why eternal life?  Why victory?
Contrary to what you might think, especially during hard times, God isn’t angry when we ask “Why”.  His answer to us may not come in a day or two. His answers often take faith to understand.  We often need to look back at past encounters with our God and see his faithfulness and look for His promises.  Sometimes what we are going through seems to defy all reason – and all explanation.  But that’s the way God works?
  We go on with each day.  Some full of sorrow and pain; others full of joy and surprise.  We look to the future with hope, and confidence that one day there will be victory – even over death.

And that my friends is the celebration of RESURRECTION SUNDAY!

This may be Friday but Sunday is a Coming!