Last night, Christians worldwide, celebrated and lamented Good Friday. We do not call it Good because we are happy or rejoice at what took place with Jesus on the cross, but because in the crucifixion of Jesus, we are bought and redeemed. Jesus went to the hill of Calvary, in the area known as the Place of the Skull, carrying a cross down the Via Dolorosa for us; Jesus knew that if he did not walk that path, to that place, and march up that hill, all people would be stuck in darkness. We would be forever covering our sins, and never removing them. We would be forever wishing to be better, but never having a Counselor to teach us truths and transform our hearts.
Can you imagine what it was like that first Good Friday and Holy Saturday? Jesus hangs limply from a cross; his disciples had abandoned him, denied him, betrayed him. On either side, two criminals, now with two fates, both die laboriously. Women, who followed this man they called Messiah, crowned with thorns, now lifeless. All creation waits with baited breath for what comes next. Sitting in cosmic darkness, existence waits for Light to dawn.
In our area, sister churches gathered together to commemorate this moment. One thing we tried to experience together was silence. Silence and solitude are twin spiritual disciplines; tragically, they are both neglected in modern Christianity. As you today, sit in the space between Crucifixion and Resurrection, find some space for silence and solitude.
Turn off the phone
Power down the computer
Turn off the background Netflix
Enter into silence, find a place of solitude.
We may find we are sitting in darkness. Don’t be afraid to admit that. Darkness comes, and after that, the Dawn.
Silence can be awkward and uncomfortable. Most of us run from it at the first chance. But when we calm ourselves, when we take a moment to appreciate the silence and the stillness, we come to find that our souls have more to say than we previously thought. Our souls may weep at a chance to speak, having been pent up for so long. As Nicodemus and Joseph leaped at the opportunity to serve the rabbi they followed from a distance, so our souls, in silence and solitude, leap up to tell us their deepest desires. But we must allow them.
And when they speak, we will find that they desire the one who died on the cross, the one who will set them free.
In this time of cosmic twilight, we are betwixt our darkest moment and the brightest day, let us do well to remember the words of Christ.