Today we move from serving to suffering and back to serving. After last night’s footwashing, we go to the cross as we listen to the great story of Good Friday. We stand in the paradox of something horrible being labeled as Good. Did God who created the world and said it was good, now look down on the Son suffering his death on a cross and say it was good? Did God weep that it had come to this? Did the Creator nod and half-smile, knowing that Good was about to break through and change lives forever despite what could be seen with human eyes? John says at the end of his Gospel that he is testifying to the truth as if knowing that we may balk at believing the unbelievable.
What is truth? Pilate demands of Jesus when he interrogates him. Truth is hard to pin down. Your truth may not be my truth. Two people at one event may view what transpires differently. Two friends looking back at a memory may disagree as to what exactly occurred. We do not know what the real truth is because both people may have strong feelings about their rendition. We see even the argument in the Gospel story between the chief priests and Pilate about what to write as an inscription for the cross. How did people want to tell the story of Jesus. Clearly, John as the Gospel writer could foresee that people would have different stories. John himself stresses certain events differently than the other Gospel writers.
The truth is also cultural. I happened to learn something about the story that I had not known until today. A mother makes a seamless garment for her son as he leaves home. That insight was powerful for me as I am sure Mary would have watched the soldiers cast lots for it. A garment of love not destroyed but gambled over. What seems like unimportant information holds great truth. With our 21 Century eyes, we do not see the depth of meaning held in the seamless garment.
Joseph of Arimathea may have told a tale to his circles that differed from Nicodemus. What did Pilate say later to people, on his death bed, looking back over his life, about this Jesus that was crucified and whose body disappeared from the tomb? Our truths are our own. No one can take them from us. However, we can pray that God will show us the Truth of a story for our lives.
We can choose to believe the story of the Good Friday and Easter or not. I for one do believe in its Truth. Jesus lived amongst us, was crucified and died. The rest of that Good story is coming tomorrow and the day after. The Footwasher became the Suffering Servant who died so that we might have Eternal Life. That is a True story that I long to hear every year.
What is your Truth about Good Friday?
When God looks upon Jesus on the cross what happens for you? Pray with this image.
Footwasher, you have tread the road to Calvary and left your blood to mark the path. You set an example of cleaning our dirty feet and then you took the cross, carrying the weight of our sins to the hill. They stretched out your hands and crucified you. Right to the end, you showed us how to serve. May we know the Truth of this story deep in our souls. Amen.