Benedictine Spirituality Christ Cross Divine Office Good Friday Gospel Holy Week Lectio Divina Scripture Triduum Uncategorized

Good Friday, day of second chances

Photo by Cdoncel on Unsplash

This week I’ve been listening to Amy Jill Levine’s courses on Holy Week and the Good Friday. One of the things she highlighted is how often Jesus offered people a second chance, Zacchaeus, all those tax collectors and sinners, the woman taken in adultery come to mind and there are many more.

It has an added significance as we revisit the passion, and see the second chance offered to those who denied and betrayed him, to those who sat on the side lines or runaway, or who only found the courage to come to him under the cover of darkness.

As we come to Good Friday, facing the stark reality of the Cross, it can feel like the time for second chances has run out. As we commemorate the crucified Christ it can seem as though we have reached the end of the story, and that our hopes are ending in death, disgrace, betrayal and failure. On Good Friday we begin Lauds by singing these verses from the Byzantine liturgy:

“Life-giving Lord, it is right to sing your praise, for your hands were stretched out on the Cross, and so you destroyed the power of death.”

We start Good Friday by acknowledging Christ as our “Life-giving Lord”, a powerful reminder that the Cross is not the end of the story, but a gateway to new life. The Cross is an essential part of our faith, we need to face it, acknowledging the suffering and death it represents. And, we need to accept the second chance it offers us with it’s promise of new life.

What second chance is Christ offering you this Good Friday?

Benedictine Spirituality Cross Good Friday Gospel Holy Week Lectio Divina Lent Prophetic voices Scripture Triduum Uncategorized

Christ our Life

Image ©Turvey Abbey

At Office of Readings on Good Friday we sing the Lamentations of the Jeremiah. This morning I was struck by their opening lines:

“All of you who pass this way, look and see,
is any sorrow like the sorrow that afflicts me?”

It seems the perfect verse for this Good Friday that we come to bearing the overwhelming sufferings of the pandemic and of the war in Ukraine. It’s a suffering that desperately needs acknowledging, and the cross is the only place that can hold it.

Yet, in Lauds I found the Lamentations were given a new and broader perspective by these verses from the Byzantine liturgy:

“How can you die, Christ our Life?
How can you lie in the tomb?
By your death you will destroy the power of death,
And you will raise the dead from their tombs.”

They Echo the heart breaking sorrow of Jeremiah, giving us a place to acknowledge our own heartbreak and suffering. Yet, they also carry us beyond that. They point out that our faith doesn’t stop at the cross. The cruel suffering that the cross represents is a staging post on our journey to new life in the resurrection. They remind us that the Christ who lay in the tomb is already risen. He is with us in the sufferings and uncertainties of our times and will lead us through that to the new life that his resurrection promises.

As we bring our sorrows before the cross this Good Friday where are you inspired by the hope of the new life Christ promises?