Day 39 of Lent: Good Friday

Lent is almost over.  Mark shares in Mark 15:46 that Joseph of Arimathea claims the body of Jesus, takes him from the cross, wraps him in a linen cloth, a shroud, lays him in a tomb and closes the tomb with a rock.  It would appear that the story is finished.

         How many things have we laid to rest, tried to bury and leave in the past, only to have them come back and invade our lives?  A friend had a baby out of wedlock in college and when the baby turned 18, she wanted to meet her birth mother.  My friend had to explain to her three children a part of her life she thought she had buried.  Some of us do not like to fill out medical forms asking personal questions about our diseases and lifestyle that bring up bad memories we’d like to bury in the past.  I think we say that things we bury alive have a way of coming back to haunt us.  Jesus is put to rest in a tomb but is the story over?

         We talk about Jesus dying for our sins.  We spell that with a small “s” meaning those things we “have done and left undone” that separate us from God and from our fellow people.  It does not matter how big or how little those actions were, separation was the result.  But we also talk about Jesus dying for Sin with a capital “s.”  That means the state of separation between the God being and ourselves.  We do not see God or hear him or touch him as we would like.  We are limited and he is infinite.  For those offended by male pronouns, you may want to think of a God being but do not miss the point because of language.  We live in a state of separation.  It is as if a stone was rolled over the door of relationship.  We experience God as if we are in a dense fog but Paul says in Corinthians that one day we will see face to face.  Jesus incarnating in humanity, dying and resurrecting provides us a way to reunite that which has been broken, hidden, buried.  Good Friday may not end with the tomb.

         May we sit at the tomb this evening and think of all the things that have buried in that tomb with Jesus, and that we know are forgiven, never to be thrown in our face.  May we be thankful for all those sins that we will never have to face again.  May we regret all the loneliness and separation that stone represent.  All the grief of our failures can be buried on Good Friday..  Let us be there in our hearts when they buried our Lord.

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