Pastor’s Friday Comments (04.02.21)

The classic question to consider each year on this day is, how can a day that commemorates the death of a sinless and innocent man be called “Good Friday”? For anyone not steeped in Christian thinking or who is an adherent of almost any other religion, this would seem to be an absurdity. We are used to thinking that one triumphs through success, not defeat, and if, as we affirm, Christ is the full embodiment of God, then God would seem to be powerless.

We know that the very opposite is true. It was through Christ’s willing submission to the worst that this world could do that he demonstrated God’s love for all humanity and demonstrated the life of servanthood that his followers are to lead. We don’t always remember nor do we consistently live in that truth, but it is the message of the cross.

This is also an opportune time for deep reflection, not only on the sacrifice and love of Christ, but on how we are living – and how we ought to live – our lives. Spring is an appropriate time for such introspection. As I am writing this, the trees have literally begun to bud overnight, the cardinals have returned, a yellow swallowtail is flitting past my window. What better time for us to consider a new beginning?

This year, of course, with the possibility of emerging from the pandemic that has held us captive for over a year becoming increasingly likely, we have some specific questions on which we could reflect:

What effect has this unusual year had on me? Have I used it to grow spiritually? Have I developed some bad habits that I must overcome? Or, more positively, have I begun some discipline that I should maintain?

What lessons did I learn about dealing with people during the time when I had such limited exposure to others? Will I be more appreciative of their company or less patient because I’ve had some freedom from dealing as intimately with some people?

How will my participation in the life of the church have been affected? Will I appreciate the presence of the other members of my family of faith more? Will I seek to serve, both through the church and in other ways, more faithfully than I have in the past?

Will I find that I have made the most of this time and, just as importantly, will I have found that my priorities have changed for the better?

You’ll have your own set of questions on which to reflect, but today, as you hold before yourself the perfect example of Christ, will be an excellent time to begin that process, if you haven’t already. 

You should have received an email with material for personal devotions today. Incorporate into that time of worship space to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you about these questions.

Then, as is also always the case after Good Friday, we have the privilege of participating in the celebration of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday. Remember that this year we will have in-person worship at 10 a.m. in the parking lot. I hope all of you will join us, but if you can’t, sometime today you will receive material for virtual worship. All of us look forward to the time when we can gather safely in the sanctuary, but for now, I rejoice in the opportunity to see as many of you as possible for worship in the beauty of this season.