Good Friday Homily By The Rev. Marcia McRae
St. John's Episcopal Church, Bainbridge, GA. 25 March 2016
All Years RCL Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Psalm 22; Hebrews 10:16-25; John 18:1-19:42
Rainy days get me down.
You may remember the poignant singing by The Carpenters of these lyrics: “Rainy days & Mondays always get me down.” These lyrics seem appropriate for this rainy Friday. Despite this dark day we know Good Friday offers us the Light of God's Love.
We know rain is good for the earth, the seas, our gardens, farms, wells & other water supplies. We know we can have too much of a good thing: too much rain can ruin crops, drown people & creatures, cause landslides & destroy roads, buildings & lives.
Despite the negative aspects we know of nature, we know our human nature's negative aspects cause much more damage. Despite the damage we inflicted on the 1st Good Friday trying to silence the Prince of Peace & get him out of our face with his words of Love & wide embrace of outcasts – the people we'd rather not associate with,
God gives us the blessing to join in community
tonight to celebrate Good Friday.
We celebrate because we are Easter people, who know the rest of the story. I wonder what kind of celebrations took place that 1st Good Friday night among the people who wanted Jesus dead.
What does it feel like to realize we celebrate the execution of an innocent man? Do we really celebrate Jesus' execution, or do we remember it with awe & grateful hearts that the Lord of Life has willingly suffered & died for us so that we can live fully in God's love not just after we die but now on this smaller side of larger life.
We know at tomorrow's Easter Vigil & Sunday morning we will celebrate the Good News of Jesus' Resurrection. Jesus' death shows us the lengths to which our loving God goes to bring us into the fullness of God's love. Our creator, our Father in heaven goes to extremes to draw us into God's Love – the life-giving Love of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. How do we respond in our daily life away from church?
In his meditation for today, Mike Kinman, dean of Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, says: “:...the cross of Jesus...is the only place where there is nothing left to fear...in Christ's arms...in this world there is no safer place.”1
We meet Jesus in places of need, in people of need. Meeting Jesus in our brothers & sisters in the human family who are in need “means we need to count everything as loss that separates us from [these brothers & sisters], knowing their arms are the arms of [Jesus, who] said: 'I was in prison & you visited me.'... Jesus' prison was literally the cross...those who visited him there risked being next. That's why most of them hid in fear.”2
Let go of fear. Celebrate our life in Jesus.
Celebrate our life together even when we know
it will change.
We can celebrate because we are Easter people who know the rest of the story. We know that from death God brings forth life. We know:
“The cross is safe because Jesus is there.”3
Meeting Jesus on the Margins: Meditations on Matthew 25. Mike Kinman. Cincinnati: Forward Movement. 2015.
“Rainy Days and Mondays” Paul H. Williams & Roger S. Nichols. Sung by The Carpenters. Accessed: 25 March 2016. http://www.metrolyrics.com/rainy-days-and-mondays-lyrics-the-carpenters.html
1 Meeting Jesus on the Margins: Meditations on Matthew 25. Mike Kinman. P.104-105.
2 Ibid. P. 105.