A Good Friday Question

The one who rewrote the Batman comics, Doug Davidson, tells a story about the time he took his three-year-old with him to return a book to the seminary library. The child had never been inside before. As he shuffled into the vestibule, he stopped in his tracks. Before them hung an almost life-size crucifix. He watched his son’s eyes fix on Jesus’ twisted body, bleeding hands and feet. He had never seen such an image. In their Baptist church, the cross was empty, its Jesus had risen and ascended. For a moment, Doug considered taking the boy away to shield him from the violence statue, But it was too late.

Doug thought his son might cry. Instead, without taking his gaze from the dying Jesus, the child whispered a question full of sadness and great sorrow: Daddy, what happened?

Today on this Good Friday, we have become accustomed to empty crosses that have no meaning. Maybe It’s almost a point of pride with some Protestants not to exhibit Jesus’ bloody crucifixion, but to focus instead on the resurrection. And that’s good too. But empty crosses can also be evasive, shielding us from facing the violence inflicted on Jesus for our sins and the violent acts to do to each other – which is one reason Good Friday is important. It answers the question the kid asked Daddy, “what happened?”. It’s a day to sadly, sorrowfully and joyfully stare the complicity of a broken saviour in the face, as he dies in the worst way possible.

A Good Friday Reflection

What if I stopped in my tracks and gazed at the crucifixion? What if I stood still and took it all in? The pain, the horror, the confusion. What if I asked, and really wanted to know what happened?

“I am poured out like water, my heart is melted within my breast; my tongue sticks to my jaws. My hands and feet have shriveled; I can count all my bones.” Psalm 22:14-17 (NRSV, abridged).

Let’s Pray

Yahweh, please answer my humble Good Friday prayer/question. What happened? I really want to know. Please show me and make your sacrifice real to me, in Christ name, Amen.

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