06 April 2007

Good Friday

Today we remember the Crucifixion of the Christ. While Palm Sunday and the Passover are marked with celebration, the atmosphere of Good Friday is much darker. Many churches tonight will hold Tenebrae services during which the sanctuary lights will slowly be extinguished. The paraments will be stripped or exchanged for simple black cloth.

It is today that we remember the death of our Passover Lamb. Exodus tells us that this Lamb was to be without blemish and that His bones were not to be broken. It is through the Lamb's blood that Death does not come to us. This Sacrifice is in celebration of God's deliverance and of salvation.

When he was hung on the Cross, Jesus quoted Psalm 22. As he began by saying, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?", the events of the Psalm were carried out around him.
"My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth." - "I have thirst."
"A band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet."
"They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing."

The prophet Isaiah reminds us that, "You were sold for nothing, and without money you will be redeemed," (52:3). In the next chapter, we are told "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all," (53:5-7).

Though the sorrow of the Cross is in the death of the Christ, it also comes bringing the glory of salvation. The sorrow of the Cross is not long lived, for the tomb will be empty on Sunday morning. The salvation, however, is eternal.

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