That small circle of people who know me well these days know I have a bit of a difficult relationship with churches. I spent the better part of this Good Friday trying to decide whether or not to track down a Good Friday service. By this I mean a true Good Friday service, not just one of multiple identical services this weekend. I found several Catholic and Protestant congregations offering such a program, but I ultimately did not have it in me to make it out.
During this day of reflection and internal wrestling, an atheist friend of mine posted an unbelievably offensive meme on Facebook mocking the death of Jesus. It was so offensive it kind of took my breath away for a moment. That sealed it for me. Attribute it to whatever you wish, but I still care about Jesus and I do still care about his people. Strip away everything that makes up the Christian Machine Jen Hatmaker painfully writes about in her blog post today, and I’m left with a deep longing to know Jesus. What he taught, what he lived for, and, yes, what he died for.
In the midst of this angst and unsettled heart and loneliness I’ve wandered through today, my comfort this Good Friday is found reflecting on Jesus saying, “It is finished!” Not sure that “it” is as narrow in scope as I once thought it to be. I’m thinking “it” is more far-reaching than I have ever before imagined.
I’m not wanting to start any conversations about atonement theology. I’ll leave that to the gatekeepers of doctrine and academia. The only thing I care about were those three words Jesus spoke before he died on the cross.
Whatever “it” is, Jesus said “it” was over and even though I don’t fully understand the scope of those words, I know that whatever existed before they were spoken ceased to exist afterward. Whatever happened at the cross when Jesus succumbed to his torture no longer has to leave me in angst and pain.
As I’ve spent these past months on my journey from what was to what lie ahead, I somehow see that Easter 2017 is a new beginning. What was true about me to this point has died and new life awaits.
It is finished.