Were you there?

Good Friday

There’s a degree to which my thoughts for today are the same as they were last night.

Because we are in the midst of the three days.

From the Last Supper, to the New Commandment, to Judas’ exit, to the time of prayer, to falling asleep, to the betrayal, to the denial, to the crucifixion, to the burial, to the disciples huddled in fear, to the women discovering the empty tomb…  It’s all one story.  Just as we are many members of one body, these days contain many points along one path: one story.

And our liturgies these days are not about commemorating them.  They are not about fulfilling an obligation.  They are not about the church at all.  They are about each of us and all of us.  They are about the role that we all play in this drama – our role in the past, our role right now, and the role we will continue to play when we leave these three days.

There’s a reason that I tend to insist on singing that old hymn “Where you there when they crucified my lord?” during the Good Friday liturgy each year.  It’s because the answer is yes.  You were there.  You are still there.  We all have a place in this story.

The cross, the lynching tree, the fencepost in Wyoming, the bombs that are dropped, the gun violence that stays out of hand and out of control…  These are all a part of the same story.

We were there.  Christ is still crucified.  All the time.

The question that is asked of us – we who hold this faith in Christ – is how will we be there tomorrow?  How will our knowledge of these days make us there in ways that lift Christ up?

Just as surely as Christ is still crucified, Christ is also still being lifted up by God.  The tomb is still empty.

Will we be the ones shouting “crucify him”?  Will we be the ones who fall asleep?  Will we be the ones to betray him or deny him?


I know I hope to be one of the women discovering the empty tomb.  You probably hope the same in your own life.  Of course, I don’t always hit that mark, but that’s the role I want to play.  I want to be the one who spots resurrection where everyone else could only imagine death.  I want to be the one who shares the good news: Christ is alive.

That’s why we relive these stories.  Not just because the date popped up on the calendar.  Not because we think we’re “supposed to”.  We relive these days to aspire…  To dream of a better way.  We live through these days so that we can witness to the world that Christ is alive.  Amen.