Good Friday – Not Too Long Ago!

GOOD FRIDAY 2020 “Not Too Long Ago”

A Disciples viewpoint of the first Good Friday

NOTE: Tonight is a special presentation for Good Friday. It looks at one disciple left alone after the crucifixion. Left alone with nothing more than thoughts and memories. It is not a sermon so there is no scripture reading. This is how I understand one disciples viewpoint of the dark night following Jesus death. It is also how we can look at those feelings and apply them to our current situation. There is a video that goes along with this text on our Facebook Page.

 

I call this piece,  “Not too long ago, one disciples view of the first Good Friday.”

You know, it doesn’t seem all that long ago that life was different. It seems like yesterday that we were all together sharing stories, eating food, and having good times together. Yeah, there were unpleasant times too; but at least we were together, as one, like our teacher asked us to be.

Then a virus started to spread and it changed people’s viewpoints. We went from a happy bunch looking forward to great days, then suddenly it all came crashing down around us. Is there any reason to be happy anymore? I can’t think of anything that would bring me happiness again?

I would all like to go back to those days when life was simpler, back before the virus. I cannot go back, I only have this time right now and tomorrow whatever that holds. I think back and wonder how did it spread so fast, didn’t anyone see it coming? I know some did. We can look back today and read the words they wrote way back then. We had the information, why didn’t we do something more, why didn’t we pay attention.

How could any of us let this happen?

I think we allowed time to slip away from us, enjoying ‘life in the moment’. Sitting at Jesus feet, enjoying those special moments like they would never end. Life was different then, Jesus was our life, but our teacher is gone now. Jesus told us through the prophets that this day would come, he told us about how the authorities would hand him over to be killed. I guess the prophets were right. Jesus is dead now.

It was that virus that killed him, the virus of hatred, anger, jealousy and pride. How could these things fill our hearts and cause so much devastation? Didn’t Jesus warn us of these same things when we were all together?

I want to go back to those days when the biggest issue we faced was which one of us deserved the place of honor next to Jesus. That wasn’t the happiest day, but still, even when the teacher reprimanded us, it was with love. I would go back to those days right now if I could, because even when we were in trouble, the teacher would go out of the way to help us understand what was going on.

I can’t think of anything that could bring me happiness again?

I’m stuck here in my house, afraid. Afraid of the same fate that Jesus endured. We were warned that we my face trouble, just for following and obeying the words we were taught. Yet that virus enabled Jesus to be found guilty, it’s still out there, outside my house lurking around, waiting to devour another. I don’t want that ‘another’ to be me.

I know I don’t want to be crucified. I am a disciple, my name is not important, what I witnessed is, what I lived through is, what Jesus taught me is.

More important than ever before, because those teachings are all I have left. I can recall Jesus questioning my fear, “Why are you so afraid?” Jesus said it to all of us. At the time, it was a thunderstorm coming over the boat that frightened us. It was also the Romans. Worse than their metal weapons, and forms of torture was their disregard for human life. Except they’re own of course.

Not every Roman is filled with hate. Some are afraid, but they don’t dare speak up. I think the virus has overtaken them as well.

Everything they taught about order came from a strict adherence to a military code. Do your part to the satisfaction of the one above you and you will do okay. I almost feel sorry for them, those soldiers who are asked to do the most horrible things. How does a Roman soldier feel when they crucify another human being?

The life they live is so different from what Jesus taught us. I recall the teacher telling us that to be first we must be last. We were told to love our enemies and never treat anyone like we were better than them. It’s no wonder the Romans couldn’t figure out Jesus.

It wasn’t just them, what about the other Jewish teachers and the high priest. They couldn’t figure out Jesus either, but why hate? Why was death the answer? Jesus never harmed anyone. Jesus was always talking about love. Love seemed more important to Jesus than even the law. I think that was the issue the other teachers and the high priest had with Jesus. Our teacher taught stuff nobody else was talking about. I think I found my reason for why they thought Jesus needed to die.

Now I’m supposed to go out and teach the same lesson? I don’t know, I just don’t know. I know I’m not going anywhere for a while, that’s for sure. The world can wait for one braver than me.

I’m sure the other disciples will accomplish that work. Unless something happens to them, then it will fall into my hands. My hands, my hands are not strong, not as strong as the fishermen in the group, you should have sen their hands, they were strong. They were tough. I’m really not sure what Jesus ever saw in me. What did I have to offer, I just started following one day.

I really liked how Jesus spoke, the things that were said filled me with confidence that the world wasn’t such a bad place. Then that virus came and forced me into hiding, all alone. I’m not even lighting a candle, someone will find me. Yet, I can’t shake this feeling about Jesus, I can still hear those words ringing in my head, “Why are you so afraid?” Why? “I’m cold, I’m all alone, I can’t go outside, my only friends are far from me!” Why? Do you even need to ask why?

As I continue to think about Jesus and the words, the actions, the feelings, the emotion of those wonderful days; the fear of being alone is being replaced by a new fear, I feel a presence in this room with me. It’s like Jesus is here with me, speaking to me as though still alive. “Lord,” my shaky voice murmurs, “Is that you?”

I hear the words answer back, “I am here,” but I don’t believe I am hearing them. First of all they are not coming from inside my head, they are coming from inside this very room. I hear the voice plainly say, “Why do you doubt?”

Doubt, I say, I’m doubting because it has been a pretty rough three days. My situation is desperate and I am running out of everything I need. I hear the voice again, “I am all you will ever need.” I know that voice, it’s my teacher.

We continued to talk for a while about fear, darkness and that ugly virus that is just outside my house. Then the voice stopped, it hasn’t left, but it is no longer talking out loud. It is back inside my head, I can feel it moving throughout my whole body, and along with the voice there is renewed courage and hope.

Not the kind that’s willing to take on the 10th legion of Rome, but enough to make my legs move and my eyes open, and my heart beat agin, which I don’t think it has for about 30 minutes. There is life again.

Life from death. How strange, that is exactly what Jesus was telling us before the cross. Now here I am, with this peculiar feeling of strength and rejuvenation. I take a quick glimpse out the window and realize that same old world has not changed one bit, but something inside me sure has.

This is the feeling I was just dreaming about, that good old feeling I had when Jesus and I were walking along the way talking about greedy landowners and wealthy kings and underhanded businesspeople. All those stories are starting to make sense. The world is still filled with these types, they haven’t changed; and they won’t, not until they meet Jesus.

Until they meet Jesus, but Jesus isn’t coming back anymore. Not at least until the very end. I thought the cross was the very end. I was reminded that nothing in this world will stop Jesus and that includes my fearful, stubborn attitude. Not even I can prevent Jesus from returning.

Why would I want to? Right now I just want to go back to the garden and stay awake this time. Never thought I would get a second chance to do that.

Because of the cross, my second chance is right here in  my heart. All I need to do now is get up and go out that door.

I know that the ugliness of the world is still waiting. I feel like God’s spirit is upon me and soon I will be ready. I still have a few issues to work out. Jesus once told us that if we were particularly troubled, we should share those burdens, and the power of God would help us in our darkest times. I can’t imagine a darker time; but you know what, it looks like the dawn is coming, and there is a hint of happiness on my lips.