Good Friday: March 30 ,2018
Daybreak: the sunshine, the sky, the clouds.
The clock ticking.
My breath, in and out.
The aches and pains of my body.
The responsibilities of the day.
For most of my adult life, I have play a game/had a personal devotional moment on March mornings like this near the end of Lent. I imagine and try to experience the ways in which my experience is connected to the experiences of Jesus in his earthly life.
I look outside my window and see the same sun, the same sky, the same clouds from the same perpetual water cycle. I breathe in the same air as Jesus, and breathe it out. I have felt aches and pains of being embodied, like Jesus did—although now on the older side of 33 years old perhaps I have more than he did on a normal day? Well, he was a carpenter, I guess that takes more of a toll than typing sermons and driving to visit the sick.
Jesus had no clocks ticking around him but he and I live in the same unfolding fabric of time.
The birds: the birds are what get to me. For some reason it touches me most that Jesus and I and you have all heard birds calling.
Maybe it's because by the middle of the summer I take birds and their calls for granted, but then by the end of February and the punishment of a harsh winter I yearn to hear the birds sing again. Their songs bring life and love into my heart! And in a strangely similar way I feel even as a minister that I take God for granted for stretches of time; then Lent comes around and I am stirred spiritually and yearn for Jesus more than ever.
But then Good Friday comes, and I imagine Jesus watching daybreak after a sleepless night, I imagine him anticipating with dread the suffering to come as the hours tick away toward three in the afternoon. I imagine him hearing the chirping of birds but also the cock crowing.
I imagine him breathing a little more rapidly than normal, tearing up over the ways that his disciples have all fallen away from him. And then I imagine Jesus feeling the responsibility of his day, that day.
When I take on a day, I take on the responsibilities of caring for children at home, being a partner to my spouse, staying in touch with my family, being a good neighbor and doing my job well at church.
How does this compare with the responsibility of being God's Son, who willingly accepts the cost of God's love in a broken world: Resentment, hatred, death?
A teacher of mine said that when birds call, it's their way of saying, "Here I am! Here I am!" The cross is Jesus' way of calling to all people, "Here I am! Here I am!" "My call of love to you will not be silenced by threats or bribes or the empty promises of the world. I love you, forgive you, am with you. Here I am!"
I believe that Jesus' responsibility of that Friday on the cross was to share God's love no matter the cost, to breathe his last for us.
It's that love that connects Jesus to us over the centuries, to bind us in this creation to one another, to inspire us to love God and neighbor. To give thanks to God especially on Good Friday for God's love and to eagerly anticipate the news of Sunday daybreak when we hear the glorious morning song that declares death is not the final word, that we are with God forever.
I hope you cane be here at church on Sunday (9 & 11 a.m.) or give God thanks for the risen Christ wherever you are.
First United Church of Christ
34 West Main Street
Milford, CT 06460
All are welcome at First Church! As an inclusive community of God's children, we affirm the radical welcome and hospitality of the United Church of Christ; No matter who you are, or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here!
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