Here we are on Good Friday, a day that calls for somber reflection. Recently, I read an article about the nature of evil in our world. What would cause a group of people to demand the crucifixion of an innocent man? The author explained that “evil uses people’s anxieties, fears, and prejudices to twist good intentions into cruel deeds.” The leaders who facilitated Jesus’ crucifixion thought they were protecting the peace of Rome by preventing Jesus and his followers from upsetting the status quo. These leaders knew that if people saw Jesus as Lord, then the Roman emperor would no longer have ultimate authority. If the emperor felt threatened, he might prohibit the freedom of the Jewish people to worship in the temple and practice their faith. The “good intention” of preserving the peace resulted in the cruel deed of crucifixion.
As Pastor Beth admonished us in last week’s message, we must not assume that we would never be among the crowd shouting “crucify him.” If our anxieties, fears and prejudices are not kept in check, any one of us is capable of cruel actions. Self-awareness is very important in helping us avoid the evil impulses that are part of being human. Good Fridayis a day to examine ourselves and to ask God to soften our hearts and teach us how to live without the anxiety, fear, and prejudices that can lead us to evil behaviors.
Tonight at 6:30pm we have a special Good Friday service in the sanctuary. Take the time to come and experience this meaningful, reflective service that focuses on Jesus’ last words from the cross.
This year, the scripture passage that I am using for the Easter message is Mark 16: 2-8. I encourage you to read this passage before Sunday and compare it to the Easter story in the other gospels. My message is entitled “Afraid or Amazed?” Mark’s version of the Easter story is unique, and it invites us all to ponder our response to the news of Jesus’ resurrection.
Friends, let’s embrace this Easter weekend by sharing the deep meaning and joy we discover in the risen Christ!
I look forward to seeing you tonight and again on Sunday! Remember, God’s love never fails!