As the hours count down signaling the end of Good Friday, I want to share pieces from my journaling session today and my experience with The Abbey. This year Holy Week and Easter look different than anything we’ve experienced before- but, this isn’t news to you. I know you’re used to waking up and seeing the mass amount of emails about “COVID-19”. You’re trying to figure out how to navigate this new lifestyle with the Coronavirus out there. In February before news of the virus, shelter in place, and quarantine came to my country, I decided to seek out a resource to help me feel more connected to Jesus. In my day- to- day, one of the ways I feel near to The Lord is when I am moving my body. One of my favorite ways is through yoga because it is a mental challenge and for some, it can also be emotional. I searched good ol’ Google and discovered The Abbey, an online Christian yoga studio. I love the content and was excited to see the email saying they would have a Good Friday live celebration.
This is what they were offering:
“On Friday morning you’ll find a digital journey available for you with a piece of artwork, a passage of Scripture, and some reflecting prompts for each of the 14 Stations. Different Christian traditions recognize different Stations of the Cross; we will be drawing from the 14 stations outlined in the Gospels, beginning with Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and ending with His burial. We will also be hosting three live gatherings to meditate on the Stations together.”
My schedule allowed for me to make the last of the stations which was a Lectio Divina thought the final stages of Christ’s journey to the cross. This was heavy. Caroline guided us through the scripture and showcased a few visual art pieces to help us “set the scene” to imagine what it would be like if we were there right now watching this unfold in real-time. It was powerful gathering with 30 other people- strangers- to worship the Lord and take up purposeful space. Of all the things we could have chosen to do, we decided to make time in our lives and our hearts to honor Jesus and his sacrifice for us. I want to share a part of my journal and what I was thinking about after the live station with The Abbey.
Read: Matthew 27:45- 55
my Good Friday Journal entry:
When I was a little girl and first learned about the significance and the story of of Good Friday, I thought about how if I were Judas I would not have betrayed Jesus. Many, many years later I remembered thinking this, and smile on my innocence of the thought. I hold the statement I said nearly 20 years ago to be true, today. If I were in Judas’ position, I would not have betrayed Jesus. But that’s just it- without Judas’ betrayal, the story wouldn’t be the same. It was the betrayal that led Jesus to the cross. If I were in Judas’ place, Jesus’ destiny- his purpose to save all of mankind would have become difficult- maybe even impossible to fulfill. We needed those moments of sin and darkness to be able to live an eternity in grace and light.
God is still working in the dark secret places.
Caroline reminded us of just how important and significant darkness is on Good Friday. While she touched on how Jesus is the light in the darkness that is sin, I decided to hold space for this after the station to explore it more and sit with the feelings- the impact and significance of it.
The darkness surrounding Good Friday
represents two things:
2) The Unknown
As I shared in my reflective journaling session above, without Judas’ moments of sin aka the darkness surrounding his decision to betray Jesus, we wouldn’t have this Holy Week or this wonderful, incomparable gift that Jesus gave us through his death- freedom. Without sin, we wouldn’t have received the antidote or the key to eternity.
Read: Matthew 27:57-61
When “Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth.. placed [Jesus’ body in the] tomb that he had cut out of the rock.. [and then sealed it by rolling a] big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb”, we are seeing how light was quite literally shut out in this space and all that was left surrounding Jesus’ body was the cloth, materials of the earth, and the darkness of his tomb. In the next verse we learn how “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb”.
This is powerful.
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were watching the light become dark. They watched the light leave Jesus’ eyes as he took his last breath on the cross. They saw his body wrapped snug in a cloth not visible to the sun or other light sources, and now- they see his body being placed with intention for permanent residency inside a dark tomb.
What their eyes didn’t see was the work God was doing internally though Jesus or behind the boulder shielding his body from the earth. Inside God was healing Jesus’s organs- along with every broken bone, sore muscle, and internal complication. God was also at work healing Jesus’ heart and mind from the trauma he just endured. Behind that rolled stone sealing the entrance to Jesus’ tomb, God was preparing Jesus to be raised from the dead. In the darkness of that tomb, God was explaining, instructing, and encouraging His son’s next move: to save mankind- today and forevermore. While people were at home, in the streets, going to a place of worship or outside of Jesus’ tomb mourning- and while the wicked were rejoicing, God was working. God was breathing life into Jesus’ body. Together they were taking on the ultimate project- working on killing death. Inside the darkest tomb held the most light. God was working on part two; He was defying the consensus of “normal” to forever change the way earth would be. No, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary couldn’t see through the rock at the tomb’s entrance. If they could, they would have witnessed the miracle happening in the dark. Oftentimes we are like Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, unaware of the miracle and better plan God has. Good Friday is the ultimate reminder that the end isn’t truly the end and darkness isn’t empty. Just as the people did after Jesus’ death, we mourn and wish- beg and plead for a different outcome- some back then to question God and bargain for why they should have been the replacement- to have walked in Judas’ footsteps and not sold out Jesus. But as we see, God had a plan far greater than death. Judas was an instrument in our salvation. There was a purpose and it was and still is part of God’s plan.
The chapter needed to end.
What we thought, saw, and felt like as the end of a novel was in fact the introduction to the story God continues to write to this day. Now here we are with hundreds, thousands- maybe even millions of pages later and the story is still being told of this once sorrow day only to have him raise to life again that Sunday.