RESURRECTION IN A GOOD FRIDAY WORLD
All the Scripture passages
telling the story of the Resurrection
Spring is such a wonderful season. The blossoms come out on the trees. Plants of all kind begin to bloom. Leaves begin to sprout on the branches of trees with that wonderful bright green colour. Birds songs are heard that have been silent over the winter months. It begins to get warmer. But what if Spring was never to come. What if because of some astronomical disaster we all were caught in the grip of a winter that would not let go, and the earth remained dark, cold, wet, and barren for years on end. Some years it must seem like that in certain parts of the world. It just can’t seem to stop snowing. Winter keeps on keeping on. What if that were true all over the earth and would never end? In a lot of ways that would be like our world without Easter.
It would be a Good Friday world where Christ has dies and remains dead. In a Good Friday world, darkness wins over light. In a Good Friday world, loveless power defeats the power of love. There is nothing to celebrate. In fact without Easter we can’t even call it Good Friday. It definitely is a awful Friday.
We have to admit the world does seem like that kind of a Friday world in a lot of ways. The powers of evil seem to have conquered. Goodness incarnate remains stretched out on the cross. It is a world where greedy grasping bring dividends and where violence is perceived to be the answer to any sort of opposition. It a world where sex, money and power rule. It is a world where our motivation for living boldly, caring deeply and loving passionately has been wrung out of us. A Friday world is a world of selfishness and self-centeredness.
A Friday world is one where every day is “one of those days”. We all have “one of those days”. Don’t we? We may choose to have them sometimes but they do happen. John Steinbeck once wrote:
Some days are born ugly. No one knows what causes this, but on such day people resist getting out of bed and they set their heels against the day. When they are finally forced out by hunger or a job, they find the day is just as lousy as they knew it would be. On such a day, it is impossible to make a good cup of coffee, shoestrings break, cups leap from the shelf by themselves and shatter on the floor, children ordinarily honest tell lies…this is the day the cat chooses to have kittens and the housebroken dog wets on the parlor rug.” (1)
In a Friday world everyday is like that. It is a world where even your twin sister doesn’t remember your birthday. That’s pretty bad.
Thank God we are not condemned to a Good Friday world.
I love the story told by Tony Campola about his home church where preaching is a really important event. On one Good Friday there were no less that seven preachers preaching back to back. Tony said after he preached he was on such a high because the congregation had given him such encouragement. He basked in all the hallelujahs and cries of joy. After he finished preaching he didn’t think that there was anything else to say. Then his old pastor got up and stood the crowd on it’s ear just one phrase, which he kept working over. He started softly :
“It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming”.
One of the deacons yelled, “Preach Bother! Preach!” That was all the encouragement he needed. He came on louder as he said:
“It was Friday and Mary was crying her eyes out. The disciples were runnin’ in every direction, like sheep without a shepherd. But that was Friday, and Sunday’s coming!”
People in the congregation were beginning to pick up the message. Women were waving their hands in the air and calling gently, “Well, well” Some men were yelling, “Keep going”
He kept going. He picked up the volume a little bit more:
“It’s Friday. The cynics were lookin’ at the world and saying, “As things have been, so shall they be. You can’t change anything in this world: you can’t change anything.” But those cynics didn’t know it was only Friday! Sunday’s coming!
He just getting more forceful as he went along:
“It was Friday and on Friday Pilate thought he had washed his hands of a lot of trouble. The Pharisees were struttin’ around, laughing and pokin’ each other in the ribs. They thought they were back in charge of things, but they didn’t know that it was only Friday! Sunday’s coming!
He just kept working that phrase until I don’t thing that they could have stood it any longer. At the end of the message he just yelled:
and all five hundred people in the church yelled back with on accord,
“BUT SUNDAY’S COMING” (2)
That’s the Good news. That is the word the world needs to hear. That is the coming of a warm Spring after a harsh winter. That is the word that people who are depressed need to hear. That is the word we need to hear when we feel that we will never know love again. That is what people need to hear when they have lost their belief in the miraculous so they no longer expect great things from God. We need to hear this word when we are overcome by the hunger, oppression and lack of justice around us. We need to hear that word which is our hope, our faith, and the source of our love.
It may be Friday, (everyone) BUT SUNDAY’S COMING
That’s right and I’m here to tell you as we read in Gospel today, the disciples have been perplexed but the stone has been rolled away from the tomb. Angels have appeared . Rumors abound about a risen Lord. Peter is amazed. It’s beginning to dawn on them that the power of love has won over the loveless power.
Let us sing one more chorus JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN TODAY, ALLELUIA.
(1) as Quoted from “Travels With Charlie” in Pulpit Resource Vol. 13, No. 2, 1985 Glendon Harris, publisher, Honolulu, Hawaii p. 3
(2) Tony Campola Let Me Tell You A Story Word Publishing, Nashville p.213 ©2000 Tony Campola