Good morning all! We are in our last few days!
Today’s scripture: JOHN 13:36-38
36Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterward.” 37Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times
Today is Good Friday. I have always wondered, why in the world would we call this Good Friday? Like all things, I looked it up on the internet…I googled Good Friday. This seems to be a common question. The Germans actually call it “Suffering Friday” rather than Good. Many say that we call it good because without Friday we wouldn’t have Sunday. Others say that Good is another world for Holy Friday. We would be more accurate to refer to today as Holy Friday. Any which way, today holds quite the story. In fact, it might be a bit weird that I only gave you a teeny tiny bit. You are more than welcome to look up the whole story…John’s description is pretty in depth.
Wherever you fall on the Good Friday spectrum, it is important to pause today and remember. Last night at our amazing Maundy Thursday meal, Bishop Dave (ELCA Bishop) told stories around communion. He asks folks what are some foods that bring back memories for them. What had they connected to that night and why…because he said that when we remember it actually takes us out of the present and actively puts us in that past. He had more of a fancy definition but it was extremely powerful to think that when we remember (either with food or someones voice or smell or etc) we are literally launched back into that moment. So when we gather around the meal, because of how Jesus reframed, we are launched back into that memory.
Today we are launched back into the story in which Jesus dies today and all that carries for us. For me, this makes sense because I seem to cry each year when I fully place myself in the story. And probably not because I haven’t heard it before but when lost in the story it brings up all of my other stuff around loss and death. Last Sunday, David Massey spoke around ritual and death. He explained that ritual is that safe space to mourn. In grief, we feel like we are on a roller coaster but the ritual that we have is the car that contains our crazy emotions. Sometimes I would think that is true when we remember, or invoke ritual, as well. We use ritual to access those places once again. Tonight when we look at the story again, all of our memories might come forward as well…which may not be a bad thing, to have ritual and story surrounding us in a safe space.
I hadn’t realized that as we prepared to talk about death on Sunday I reached for my grandmother’s mug to use all morning. I had begun part of my own ritual around remembrance. David talked about how we might use things or go places that remind us of loved ones as part of the ritual, the safe container, to remember.
Sometimes we need those moments of pause to remember death so that we might prepare for resurrection. We won’t know the joy of new life if we can’t remember the lowest of the low. Today spend some time in prayer remembering. Just remembering…whatever comes to mind, embrace that, contain that in safe space, because Sunday is coming. If you are in McMinnville, the service tonight at 7pm in the Sanctuary should be powerful. We would love to see you.