This Good Friday, there was a joint service between Christ Church & the Église Protestante Unie in Clermont-Ferrand. Our Priest in Charge gave this short homily
Good Friday - Year C
April 15, 2022
The Rev. Dr. Susan Carter
This was not the way it was supposed to be. Only last Sunday there had been that triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t a grand parade with prancing steeds and shiny armor and lances and banners fit the arrival of a king. But it was amazing with all of those people coming and shouting and following and crowding the road from Jericho to Jerusalem.
And the coats they threw down, and the palm leaves they stripped from the trees just to make sure that there would not be dusty road for the Messiah to travel. Oh, no. There was a carpet, a symbolic one, on which the long-awaited king rode, humble, but majestic.
What happened? What went wrong?
There, in the course of only a few days, everything fell apart. By Thursday, what had promised to be a take-over – maybe even an overthrowing of the dictator and his stooges – that was gone. And the one who was promised to be the leader, the king, the messiah, the savior – he was in jail. Taken away and hidden. Beaten and whipped. In custody and out of sight. No rights, no representation.
Then there was that kangaroo court, the one earlier today – it seems like ages ago – the mockery of a court that left Jesus signed, sealed, and delivered to his death. The people were there egging Pilate on, and picking a common thug, Barabbas, over him for release.
How could they have made him carry his own instrument of execution? Couldn’t they see he could barely walk? They finally made another man pick those pieces of wood up and lug them – all the way to that place, that hilltop Golgotha that looks like a skull from a distance, with those two little cave openings where eyes might be.
Pound, pound. The nails went in, and then they hauled the cross up and stuck him between two criminals. They had the audacity to ridicule Jesus with that awful sign: King of the Jews. Like, ha, ha.
Most of us had taken off after Thursday night. As he said we would, though I hadn’t believed it. Who was left? Mostly the women. A couple of Marys – including the one from Magdala up in Galilee – and his mother. They were there. Especially his mother. She had to stay there and watch her son suffer and die. Not immediately. Not right away. She was there as the blood and the life drained from his body.
And then he was dead.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?