Mark 15: 24a, “And they crucified him.” Jesus was led to Golgotha by the soldiers. He refused wine offered to dull the pain. Then we read this four-word sentence. “And they crucified him.” Mark does not go into the gory details that often are depicted in movies. Some things are too painful to describe.
In the movie, “Australia” when someone died the news was shared, “We can’t say her name anymore.” It was the same in Kenya. Witnesses at an accident often have difficulty relating details and often contradict each other, grief. My sister and I have had more than one conversation around when our grandmother died as we each tie it to a different event in our high school years. Death is hard for many to talk about.
I have heard the advice that one of the best ways to face death, and life, is to write your epitaph. People do not object to Jesus being called a great teacher, a good shepherd, or a healer. The epitaph, “Christ was crucified for my sins,” is the memorial that causes people to stumble. It is the central truth of the life of Jesus that causes divisions. Crucifixion could have ended his story but it didn’t. It became the central truth that defines Christianity for many. It becomes his epitaph.
As we journey through Lent, as we read about Jesus’ crucifixion, we ponder too the meaning and value of our lives. Will I be a name that is never spoken again or what is the epitaph I want to leave? The soldiers did not know about the resurrection. They observed a crucifixion. People grieved. They didn’t know they were only half way through.
Perhaps you are not grieving a death of a dear person today but there are other things that bring grief – political arguments, marriage misunderstandings, broken relationships with children or parents, economic burdens, misrepresentations. Healthy grieving is important. Naming it – he was crucified – is the first step. Spend five minutes pondering what griefs your soul carries and seek to understand what is the root of that grief. Maybe you handle it by not talking about it but writing in a journal, writing an apology letter, or making a difficult phone call are all ways to heal breaches before it is too late. Honest prayer can also be helpful. We know this is not the end of the story of Jesus. I pray as you look at what grieves you, you can also celebrate what was so precious about the relationship. Relationships are gifts and worth grieving when separation occurs and worth repairing when broken. Grieving is ok. Thank you Lord.