Today the cross has become a symbol of hope during our experiences of suffering, particularly during this period of ‘social distancing’ implemented to help reduce the risk of infection and slow the spread of coronavirus in the Victorian community.
Standing by the cross was Jesus’ mother, John, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Notice the Gospel tells us that they are ‘standing’; the posture of prayer in Jesus’ time. The image of the cross teaches us the need to be in continuous prayer because that’s what the women and John are doing. They are offering their intense grief to God in prayer. We can do that too.
The Cross of Christ invites us to be lifted up; lifted up in a way that empowers us to see humanity like Christ did. Are we able to discover a new way of living, even when we find ourselves ridiculed by others because of our faith? Is it true that change and new life can emerge by embracing the cross of suffering? I like to think it does! The Cross plummets us into a deep awareness of our own fragility – the fragility of sinfulness, weakness, temptation, limitation, failure and betrayal. The power of the Cross helps us to make a transition from human failure into a life-giving awareness of God’s love for us and for the world.
The Cross is not just something that hangs on a wall in a church; or around our neck; it is within each one of us. It is in our disappointments, in our weaknesses and in our sinfulness.
Today is Good Friday. It commemorates the death of Jesus on the cross. But the cross isn’t the end of the story. It is only the beginning. We are an Easter people: a people who hang their faith, hope and lives on the Salvation of Christ who emerged from the tomb on that Easter morning 2,000 years ago.
Rev. Dr. Graeme Pender
Deacon – St. Kevin’s Parish