This is for the people who need to embrace the tears of Good Friday.
“It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming,” they say. And I can understand the sentiment. It’s hard to live entirely without hope, even for one day. It’s a true statement, but there are other, more broken truths that may need to rise to the surface.
The house is shaking in the wind, and I wonder if the earth itself remembers. Questions surface with the tears, and I am not ready to brush them away.
Can we not just sit with this grief for one day?
Can we not just feel the weight of the world, the weight of our betrayal, the weight of our whitewashed hypocrisy?
Can we not just experience the crushing, and our pain, and our part in it?
Can we not just sit and weep with each other, weep for all the deaths we cannot reverse, soak our shoulders in shared lament?
Can we not just acknowledge our blindness, our stubbornness, our failure to love, our failure to prevent our worst nightmares from coming true?
Can we not just stop in stunned silence and acknowledge the paralysis of our isolation?
Can we not just mourn the extinguishing of light, wilt beneath the darkened sun, and realize the depths of our God-forsaken despair?
Can we not just pause and remember what the world is like when Jesus is not with us?
When we push the way of love aside? When we pound the truth into an iron prison? When we pierce the life-giver of the world right into the grave?
This is Friday.
This is us, without him.
And there is comfort, yes, not from what is yet to come, but what is in this moment true:
Surely, he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.
The secret of the buried seed is to accept the darkness as a gift, to trust the finger that presses us down into what we fear will be a grave.
We have always feared facing death. We have always feared being poured out of our colourful packaging with its sunny promises, and into that terrifying mystery called germination.
We fear the hiddenness. We fear the silence. We fear the change, perhaps, more than anything.
But perhaps it is a grace that this breaking of our protective shells takes place in concealment, and if we stop grasping so tightly to our fragile skins we may feel the embrace of the soil, and hear its comforting whispers that yes, yes, life comes from death, and this breaking is indeed a new beginning.
It is good to be small. It is grace to be buried.
In this we return to the earth from which we were formed. In this we are reminded we are earth – humus. We learn humility. We become human.
And all this is not an end, oh no. All this pressing and breaking is actually a movement of love, love that pours downward, love that has pierced this dark path before, love that invites us to follow past the fear and into the deepest mystery of existence:
What is broken is multiplied, What is dead is raised to life, What is surrendered may finally grow, And what love accomplishes, no other power can unmake.
It is just as human to be hidden and quiet. And all waiting is an invitation to trust, and these deaths are an opening to life bright and beautiful beyond –
This is the way of love, And love is the only way.
* It is Madeleine L’Engle to whom I owe the connection between humus, humility, and human, from her book Walking on Water (pg. 69).
There are two geese on the river, gliding through the fog, tenderly close to each other. A mallard and his mate hug the grassy riverbank while bobbing for food. All the while, mixed precipitation pelts from a grey sky. These birds are not ruffled by an unsettled April beginning.