Friday, March 29, 2024

A long Good Friday

One of my boys said we are living through a long Good Friday.  It's hard to disagree.

That first Good Friday, from the POV of Jesus' followers, ended a good thing.  A week earlier and a triumphal entry.  Dare we think Rome will be tossed out the window and a new David will reign (minus the bad stuff)?  Now He's dead.  Lying on the ground, dead.  And having made Himself an enemy of the powers that be, his followers knew the score. 

We often give the disciples grief.  Couldn't you even stay awake?  How could you be so daft?  Running away from Jesus?  Ages ago in my ministry days, I recall one Easter sermon I gave. 

In that sermon, I took on that tendency to judge too harshly when it comes to His followers.  I told the congregation that I can show some pity since I'm sure I never would have abandoned Jesus.  Unlike the disciples, I would not have run away. 

How do I know this?  Sounds sort of arrogant, more arrogant than just judging the disciples, don't it?  Well, how can I make such a bold claim?  Easy. I wouldn't have abandoned Jesus when He was arrested, tried and crucified because I wouldn't have been within a hundred miles of Him in the first place. I would have been home, going about business, doing my thing.  Perhaps I heard of Him, saw Him, was even healed by Him.

But knowing me, I would have been glad, maybe liked what He had to say, then back to business as usual.   To abandon Jesus, the disciples already had to have given up everything and everyone to follow Him.  They would have done more than I ever have.  Only when you leave hearth and home and walk with Jesus through thick and thin do you have the chance to fully abandon Him.  Or even betray Him.  And how many of us who so easily judge the disciples over that first Good Friday can say we've made the grade in that department? 

Well, today there are ones who are holding fast to the historical Faith as so much of it is being pulled out from under us.  We see the World openly make war on everything God revealed.  And as we watch our leaders and those we  trusted throw in the towel, wave the white flag, and willingly question anything we ever believed rather than stand up to the World, it reminds us of something. Something that might make us a little more understanding when we see such capitulation.

We've been a godless, atheistic, secular society for many generations.  Oh, there was some Christian residue, but that was fading fast.  By now, we can see the secularization was purposeful, and the paganizing increasingly complete.  From a time when leaders invoked Almighty God, to today where ideas of the afterlife or divine will have no place anywhere in our social debate, we've seen a growing number of believers and leaders turn their backs on God, Christ, the Gospel, and goodness. 

And I know it's frustrating.  As my son said, we're heading into a long, dark Good Friday that seems to show no end.  But as we see so many throw in the towel, consider that at least until recently, many were holding fast..  If they're buckling now, they've had decades to join our nation and abandon God and flip the bird to the Gospel, yet they didn't until relatively recently.

Perhaps they're finally doing it now.  But at least they held out, so there is hope.  I'm not downplaying or diminishing the harm being done as Christians and our leaders day after day seem to grovel and buckle under the World's assaults.  But at least they made it this far.  Many buckled ages ago.  Many turned their back on God long before I came along.  Our nation certainly did.  But the ones we're watching today at least made it to the modern Gethsemane.  And that's worth something.

Again, I'm not downplaying the severe harm done in our Church's age of capitulation.  The harm it does and the damage to the witness of the Truth.  But before we get too angry, consider that the ones we talk about and say "I never thought it would be him" at least made it this far.   As a former agnostic, I can testify that our God fearing nation had already gone pagan, and provided plenty of reasons and excuses to abandon God back when cable meant twelve channels.  Yet these who are struggling and giving in today made it this far. 

Of course there is even hope for those who turned away decades ago or grew up never caring because our nation and its institutions told them not to.  Thief on the cross moment there.  But for those who fought the good fight until the Internet, or Facebook, or Twitter, or BLM, or this or that social woke twist to sanity in recent years, at least made it farther than we sometimes give credit.

So pray that at some point as we stumble through this Good Friday time in the Church's history, they will come back around.  That those of us who say 'surely not I Lord'" will mind ourselves so that we don't join the ranks of those fleeing into the woods.  Instead, pray that we remain faithful, and those who traveled so long will return to the narrow path.  For however long our Good Friday is, we know that Easter is always round the corner.  And that's our hope and assurance that nothing happening today can't be overcome. 

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.   John 16.33b


  1. What a wonderful, and charitable, reflection. Thank you so much for sharing! That is actually quite hopeful, and I very appreciate the perspective. Wishing you and your family a Blessed Easter as we head into the evening Vigil! :)

    1. Thank you. And a blessed Easter to you and yours!


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