A Good Friday Service
SERMON # SEVEN MARCH 2018
Reading: John 19: 16 -30
AGood Friday Service
“They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”
Psalm 22: 18
Someone once spoke about the quiet discontent within people. Perhaps it included a reference to humanity’s very real search or longing for transformation. On the one hand we do not always welcome change but on the other hand some of us may yearn for change. The cross is a place of transformation. This is where we can go to if we find ourselves searching deeply within us for a new life or transformed life.
At the foot of the cross we can become bread for others. At the foot of the cross we can become companions for each other and at the foot of the cross we can become complete.
First, becoming bread for others. The one who is crucified as a king has become the servant of all. Kings are a different breed – exalted and served. Yet, here we have a king who redefines for us what kingship is about in the way he took up his reign: To become bread of others. Just the night before, and we remembered that last night, he broke bread, gave it to his disciples saying: ‘This is my body broken for you, eat .,……’
Mother Theresa once spoke about becoming bread for others – parents who work hard to care for their children as a good example. At the foot of the cross we can learn to become bread for others.
At the foot of the cross we can become companions on the way. The way of Jesus is the kingdom of God. At the cross Jesus gave his mother and his disciple to each other so that they could acre for each other and thus become companions in a more intimate or family way. Thinking about us, companions forgive each other. There is the story of the senior monk who, on the insistence of others, had to judge the actions of another. On his way to deliver the judgement he took a container with a slight crack in it and filled it with water – as he walked the water slowly trickled out so that when he arrived at his destination there was no water left. He said to his fellow pilgrims: “I have come to judge the errors of another while my own sin is slowly leaking out behind me.” They then forgave their fellow pilgrim. At the foot of the cross we learn to forgive each other.
At the foot of the cross we become complete as God’s people. God will always finish the work God had begun. Jesus’s death is also such a finished work. God will finish the work God had begun in each of us. The word martyr and witness are from the same root. Someone once said that in the early church the Christians witnessed through their death during times of persecution. Today however we will witness in the way we live our lives. And what is asked of us is to live in ways so that others can see Jesus in us – when we pray, when we are at work, in our families.
Let us then remember the cross as place of transformation. Here is Jesus’ transformation from dead to life – for we know that, as another person said, – it is Friday but Sunday is coming. Here on the cross Jesus became bread of us, became our forgiving companion and became the one in whom God finished what God has started so that we too may be transformed from death to life.
At the foot of the cross we will encounter this Jesus – and we will still or quench the hunger and thirst for change deep within us.
“Dear Lord, help us today to approach and become still at the foot of the cross on which Jesus died so that we who are dead in our transgressions may have life. Please clothe us with a new heart and a new mind so that we may become bread for others, true companions along the way and God may complete God’s work within us and in our world. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen”