Monday, April 6, 2009

Confronting Good Friday

I'm facing my first REALLY packed Holy Week. Last year was pretty packed, but this year is REALLY packed. I preached and led worship for Palm Sunday yesterday. We have Maundy Thursday service at which I've decided not to preach a full sermon, but that will require a lot of prep and writing and explanation along the way. We're going to have a worship service with multiple stations for reflection/interaction tied to Lent and Maundy Thursday in particular. It will also include the Lord's Supper. Good Friday I am preaching at our joint Baptist/Presbyterian service, but I am not creating the rest of the service outline which is nice. Then Easter Sunday, of course. Thankfully I got on a little tear of productivity and inspiration and got that whole bulletin done last Friday. Now I just need to write a sermon and children's sermon. That's all. HA!

Good Friday is what is on my plate right now. It's what I guess I am avoiding by posting now. This is actually my first Good Friday sermon. I've been ordained almost 7 years (wow - - that seems a lot longer than it feels) and I've never preached on Good Friday. My last church only worshiped on Maundy Thursday, mid-week Holy Week. I've got lots of Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday sermons! Last year was my first Easter sermon (boy did that feel odd 6 years into ministry), but this year is my first Good Friday sermon.

I don't even know where to start. "Bloody Jesus" is not something I've ever been really comfortable with. I don't get it. I don't know why or what it's all about. "Jesus' blood for me" sounds pretty barbaric, and I'm not always totally sure what I think about this idea of Jesus on a cross as a divine plan. Certainly there had to be a different, better way. Certainly this image of God as blood-thirsty isn't really what it's all about. I know there are all sorts of different theories or theologies of the cross and writings about atonement from all sorts of different spectra.

But really, I don't go looking for answers or explanations. I know I don't get it and don't understand it, but some rational explanation of an irrational event isn't what I'm looking for. It isn't going to make it better in one "fell swoop." I'm feeling confronted by the crucifixion in a way that is unavoidable this time. I've avoided much thought about it because I haven't needed to think about it. Now I do. Now I have to look for the Word of God, or let the Word of God find me, in this text. God bless me in this task today!

photo credit: Lawrence OP via photopin cc


Stushie said...
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Stushie said...

Good Friday is barbaric, but so are the many sins of humanity. It's not meant to make us comfortable, but rather we should be appalled that our sinful mistakes could destroy God's Son so cruelly.

Every third Easter, our church gives up its Maundy Thursday service and has a Good Friday service. To preach Christ without the crucifixion is to water down the Gospel.

Mary Beth said...

I join you in feeling great discomfort this year for the first time.

You'll be in my prayers.

SingingOwl said...

Praying for the Spirt to guide you as you ponder and prepare.