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Good Friday March 25, 2016

On Palm Sunday, as we prepared to read the Passion Gospel, we were commenting on how much we wish this story could be edited, could turn out another way.

But it cannot be edited. As T. S. Eliot wrote, “In spite of that, we call this Friday Good.” God loves us so much that God comes among us, shares his love and healing with everyone he meets, treats everyone with the kind of profound respect that can come only from unconditional love, and threatens the power and privilege of both the religious and secular authorities—simply from showing genuine love.

Judas betrays him, probably because Judas is a Zealot, part of a group that wants the messiah to gather an army to overthrow the Roman occupiers and free the people. But that is not God’s vision for this world.

So Jesus endures the mock trial, the taunts and spitting, the crown of thorns digging into his flesh, and then he hangs on the Cross, an instrument of torture and slow death reserved for the worst criminals. He takes all the hate and the anger and all the violent machinations to preserve power and privilege. He absorbs all of it. Love takes all this darkness into himself.

And he works with this darkness. As Barbara Brown Taylor says, he labors with the darkness. He descends to hell. He brings his love to every part of the creation. He labors with the darkness.

And we wait. Here at the foot of the Cross.

He has shared his vision with us. We are here because he lives in us and we live in him. His vision lives in us. His shalom. Our hearts are broken, and our hope is hanging in shreds. But there is one thing we can do, and that is to try, with his grace, to live into that vision.  Amen.

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