Dear Parishioners of St Jerome’s and St Anne’s.
Good Friday. What could possibly be good about this day? We are all very familiar with the details of what happened on this day. We stand for a long period during the Afternoon Liturgy to listen to the account of the death of Jesus in St John’s Gospel. Sad, tragic, overwhelming. But there is something else; it is not recorded in the Gospels, but I think it is there. Silence.
When the chaos, commotion, screaming and shouting had subsided and when the dreadful act of crucifixion had been completed, then chaos gave way to silent sobbing and moans. Then, silence. In the last moments of the Lord’s life, as he took his final breaths, it is as if nature held its breath at the enormity of what was taking place. God hung dying on a cross.
When we have faced personal tragedy, sorrow, distress, we know very well the chaos and anger and bewilderment within. We even know the quiet sobbing and moaning it gives way to. But the silence. This is the beginning of acceptance, surrender and eventual healing. This is the silence in which we can hear again the final breaths of Jesus, as he gives himself for us, to save us from endless chaos, distress and anger. Deep silence, peace. This flows from the dying Jesus.
There is much silence over our communities at the moment. Over our churches, over our town. On my afternoon walk, I often see people staring through their windows, looking out from their gardens. Some alone. Some sad. I am reminded of the reason Jesus came to die. He came to die for each and every human being who has ever lived or will ever live, without exception. He died to reach into our loneliness, into our fear that we will always be alone, and to carry us to the Heart of His Father and ours, where we will all finally be united for ever.
This, then, is the Good in Good Friday. Everyone is embraced and loved by Jesus. Everyone is touched by his cross and precious to him. The Coronavirus has brought much death, suffering, sadness and loneliness. The Cross has triumphed over this virus and every other evil. We all belong to Jesus. We will all, at the end, be safe with him.
God Bless you all