Sermon for Good Friday

One of the most incredible things about this day
is the way Jesus accepted and embraced his pain, his torment, and his death.
He was not dragged through the courts kicking and screaming,
he was not beaten and humiliated begging for mercy,
he was not nailed to the cross shouting and struggling.
He embraced and accepted each moment
and surrendered himself to the path that he had been called to take.

It is not that he felt no fear or did not experience any anguish, he certainly did –
On the evening of his arrest he was in the garden of Gethsemane
praying to his Father, asking that this cup might be taken from him;
that the moment may pass him by;
even then he hoped and dreamed that there might yet be another way.

But when it became clear that there was no other way,
he accepted his path and embraced the journey he had been called to make.
And in doing so he opened the door to healing and resurrection,
not just for himself but for the world he loved.

From that moment all suffering and pain became a potential path to healing.
From that moment on the world’s pain and suffering took on new meaning.
From that moment on, death was no longer merely an end,
but an explosion into new life, an opened gate to glory.

Because of this day suffering and death have a depth and purpose
that goes way beyond what we merely perceive at the surface.
Your suffering, my suffering, our worlds suffering, is not meaningless –
but has become a divine means by which God can bring healing
to our world and to our lives.

Our suffering and pain is not in vain – because of this day it is a stairway to God.
Like Jesus, and through his strength,
we can allow God to use our pain to reach out and love.
Life often breaks us, but because of Jesus,
we have the opportunity to grow and be transformed through that brokenness.

In a few moments time
we will have the opportunity to come forward and venerate the cross.
Why do we do that on Good Friday?
Well, firstly, we are offering our gratitude to Jesus
acknowledging all that all he has given us and done for us.

Secondly, we are saying “yes” to God,
And, like Jesus, surrendering ourselves to everything
that God will ask us to live in our lives.
We may not always be able to immediately accept all that comes along,
but venerating the cross is an acknowledgment of our willingness
to trust God with our lives.

And thirdly, by venerating the cross we draw on our Lord’s strength,
we are aligning ourselves with the love, the strength and the faith of Christ.
For it is by his strength alone
that we can follow the path that God calls us to take in life.

May our Lord’s incredible acceptance and embracing of his path,
inspire and empower us as we seek to follow God’s call in our lives.