Why sit with others on a Friday evening and remember what you don’t want to remember? Feel what you don’t want to feel?
Betrayal, Agony, Loneliness, Accusation, Mockery, Desertion and Death. These are the experiences of this day.
Experiences that are part of all of our lives.
Sometimes, some days.
Maybe, for you, especially today.
The feelings of this day, the emotions that linger in the air. Experiences not merely of someone who was crucified 2000 years ago, but ours.
The boat slips around the leeward side of the island. The wind dies. The sails tight to the wind, crumble and fall. The boom rocks listlessly midship.
The water once turbulent and white-capped, now glassy clear reflecting upside down views of the pines.
The neutral zone. Life between what had been and what yet might be.
Aching for the past. Dreaming forward, beyond what we can see.
We sit on the side of the boat, rocking back and forth, trying to catch any small puff of wind.
Anticipation becoming impatience. How long must we be here?
Castigate each other silently. How did we – did you – make such a mistake?
What did we do to deserve this?
Sneer jealously at other boats out there sailing while we drift listless.
Dead on the water.
The neutral zone at sea, the neutral zone of Good Friday, a most uncomfortable place. A dangerous time. Tempted to head back to what has been – or move too quickly forward to what has not yet had time to form.
As we try frantically to dream, curse, plot and plan our way through we are brought up short. Reminded again that the only way out is through. Through this aloneness. This pain. This day.
Numbing, avoiding the pain, does not lead to our salvation.
Instead, a good time to take stock. To look at where we have been and what has brought us here.
On Good Friday evening, we will gather, where we do not want to be.
Look at what we do not want to remember.
Empty out the pain, the hurt. Voices from other nights, other seasons that still linger and diminish us.
Take an expression of this night that is our feeling. Images from our dreams, the news, the headlines that we turn from. Our own closeted pain. We are a mixture of all of these: Betrayal, Agony, Loneliness, Accusation, Mockery, Desertion and Death.
Sit together, in the hearing, the remembering of the story.
But tonight, not alone, as we too often are. Tonight, together. And if there is any hope in this night it is this. This pain, this hurt, this not-knowing is not ours alone. But ours, together.
Tonight, not to tack on any premature hope or happy ending. If we did, our hopes would be too small. Our “ending” not improbable enough.
We must do the impossible instead and wait.
Not to fix.
Not to undo.
To hear the story of the hurt that reminds us of our own. The silence, the diminishing candlelight. The cawing of crows. The violins that one by one drift away until there is only one.
Were you there..?
Were you there…?
Easter, it is said, comes.
But not yet.
And Good Friday, the way it comes.
Our Good Friday service is on Friday at 7:00 p.m. at University Congregational United Church of Christ in Seattle. Here with us or at home, we hope you will join us in marking this night. The way through, how Easter comes.