Good Friday: Thank You for the Grace, Lord

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(Image courtesy of drosensermons.blogspot.com)

When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.  At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.”  And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.”  Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.  Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”   There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome (Mark 15:33-40 NRS).



Standing in the shadow of the cross that fateful day, were the women.  They had not abandoned Christ, had not fled with the Apostles.  They stayed, faithful and frightened as they were.  I often think of their courage on Good Friday.  We ask ourselves if we would have stayed.  We want to believe we would have, but chances are that we would not.  We have the opportunity this day to not abandon Christ.  We can make this day meaningful, poignant, and a time of sacred worship, if we so choose.  It was our sin that necessitated the cross and Christ’s death.  He was held to the cross, not by nails, but by God’s love for us.  We can choose to go about our daily life today as if it were not the darkest day before the Easter glory.  We can act as if nothing happened, but our inner most beings know better.  For six hours, Christ suffered for us, bearing the weight of the entire world’s sin.  How will you honor those six hours today?  Will you stop and pray?  Will you read the holy scripture that tell of the glory of the cross?  Will you go to worship and pray in your church?  Whatever you do, do it with a Christ-like mind.  He deserves nothing less.

Prayer:
Forgive us, O Lord!
It was our sin, not yours that crucified you.
Help our faith to acknowledge the significance of this day.
Let it not go by without its due honor.
Your suffering and death should have been ours to bear,
But, out of your love, you granted us pardon for our sin.
Your grace moves us, even now, two thousand years later.
All honor, glory, and gratitude to you!
Amen.
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