To Get To Sunday – You Have To Get Through Friday First

Posted: 10 April 2012 in On the Pilgrim's Road
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Good Friday in Trafalgar Square. The crowds were there. The photographers were there, creeping about and blocking our views. “Ooooooooooh, it’s a miracle – I want that picture!” “Aaaaaargh, a man being nailed alive to a piece of timber – better still. Better pic. More colour!” No worries – Mary of Nazareth won’t be giving evidence at the Levenson Enquiry.

The camera men, the crowds, all added to a sense of … reality. I was struck how vivid the whole Holy Week story is. It has real drama. It tells not only a divine story but also a very human one too. Atheists, agnostics and believers can all get something from it, if they so wish.

Therefore I am amazed that quite a lot of Christians seem to rush though Good Friday to get to Sunday. I am amazed that the sermon “Its Friday… But Sunday’s Coming” is so popular. I am amazed that there is complicity by believers with non-believers to get to Sunday so fast. Shopping for “cheap Grace”?

Well grace is not cheap. There is a story here about God’s direct intervention and identification with humanity at such a profound level that He takes on all wickedness onto himself. (Substitutionary atonement for the theologo-techheads). An identification with suffering: “but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin” Hebrews 4:15. An illustration that the new Way is not simple political manifesto, or call for insurrection or bombings. If Pilate needed to hear that, so does the Chinese Government, anxious about the Christians in the context of the Taiping Rebellion (19th C) or Falun Gong (21st C). The torture and humiliation of Jesus on Good Friday – do we not see the modern echoes of Abu Ghraib Prison?

As Groucho Marx once said “Anyone who says he can see though women – is missing a lot”. Likewise, anyone who rushes though Friday – is missing a lot.

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