Sermon: What is good about today? (Good Friday 2020)


St. Cuthbert-Beyond-Canner

April 10, 2020

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, o god.

Today is friday in holy week. “Good” friday, apparently.

What is good about this day?

Calling something “good” recalls creation. For each of those days of creation, God acknowledges and names the goodness. The sun, the stars, plants, animals, humans. Those are all called good at their creation. And god does not just leave creation to fend for itself. God is always checking up on us, guiding people who are looking for a good path.

When God calls something “good” it’s creation, not destruction. Humans are good at destruction. We tend towards destruction when we don’t listen to God’s guidance on a good way to live. When we forget that very first commandment to be fruitful, when we ignore what the Torah and Jesus say is the greatest commandment: to love god. When we forget the new commandment that Jesus gave us, that we were supposed to remember yesterday on maundy Thursday: love one another, as Jesus has loved us. When we do these things we participate in creation, we create goodness.

What then of the crucifixion? How can such a destructive event be called good? It’s a question I’ve asked my whole life. How can the execution of a good man be good? It destroyed families, and forced friends into hiding, how can such suffering be good?

We’re allowed to mourn. We’re allowed to be angry and sad and scared. Those are all good reactions to destruction. We don’t have to rush through this friday, calling it “good” because we know Easter is coming on sunday. Good friday isn’t good because we know it’ll be over. Knowing something like a storm or a quarantine or a plague will be over someday doesn’t make it good.

But neither are we alone in this time of death, this time of destruction and mourning. Yes, we have each other, families, the church. We are still called to love one another. More than that, though, God is here. God is always here. God is here so much that God, in Jesus, suffered and died here. God is all in on the humanity project. God, Jesus, didn’t leave us even when he could have gotten out of the suffering of crucifixion and death. Jesus *gave* his life this day, and that’s creation, not destruction. Giving life. Being completely *here*. Showing up for us even when we humans are at our most destructive.

God gives life. God is here. And that is good.

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