Good Friday

What Abides by Jan Richardson
For Good Friday

You will know
this blessing
by how it
does not stay still,
by the way it
refuses to rest
in one place.

You will recognize it
by how it takes
first one form,
then another:

now running down
the face of the mother
who watches the breaking
of the child
she had borne,

now in the stance
of the woman
who followed him here
and will not leave him
bereft.

Now it twists in anguish
on the mouth of the friend
whom he loved;

now it bares itself
in the wound,
the cry,
the finishing and
final breath.

This blessing
is not in any one
of these alone.

It is what
binds them
together.

It is what dwells
in the space
between them,
though it be torn
and gaping.

It is what abides
in the tear
the rending makes.

—Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace

Why do we call Good Friday good? Some simply call it Holy Friday. In Germany, it is known as Karfreitag, or “grief Friday.” Silent Friday and Black Friday are also used around the world. Some say that “Good” is simply a distortion of the original “God’s Friday.”

I don’t know for sure how this name came to be, but one thing I do know is that when we call this day “Good,” we surely mean it. This day is good because it is the day when God’s deepest love for us is revealed. What we see displayed on the cross is a God of love, a God who desires the salvation of humankind. God comes to us in Jesus and identifies with us. On the cross, we see God at work for us.

And so we call this day good. Not because suffering is good, or because death is good. But because in the midst of suffering and death, God is still there. God will always be there.

A prayer for Good Friday (ELW): Merciful God, your Son was lifted up on the cross to draw all people to himself. Grant that we who have been born out of his wounded side may at all times find mercy in him, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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