There are two times on the Christian Calendar that are really difficult for me: Advent and Good Friday. Good Friday seems like a logical “difficult for me” kind of time, with us mourning the betrayal of Jesus, his death on the cross, his disciples abandoning him, etc., but this isn’t exactly why it’s particularly tough for me. To explain, allow me to tell you why Advent is difficult for me. Advent is a time where we “wait”. Where we wait for the Messiah, wait for Jesus, wait for Christmas. Technically speaking, the Christmas season according to the liturgical calendar is only 2-3 weeks following Christmas before Epiphany. Advent is the time before Christmas, and lasts all the way up to Christmas Eve… but I have trouble not celebrating the end that I know is coming! Unlike some people, I don’t start as soon as Halloween is over, that’s ridiculous!, but I do begin my Christmas celebrations the day after Thanksgiving. That’s when Christmas music is first allowed to be played in the house or the car. I don’t wait throughout Advent, I skip to the good part.
Similarly, as Easter is coming, I tend to skip over the grief and sorrow of Good Friday some years. I give it the old college try, but when it comes down to it, I know how this story ends and it’s a good one! This year, however, I find myself more able (and even forced) to sit in the moments of grief and sorrow. To, like I imagine the disciples did, stay inside with a few loved ones, fearful to go out. Not because I’m being persecuted by Romans, but because I’m afraid of contracting COVID-19, or spreading it before I know I have it, becoming another person that our overworked essential workers has to treat or serve.
We’re all sitting in a type of Good Friday this year and for most of us Easter morning will come. The curve will go back down, the number of sick and dying will decrease, we will be allowed to go back to our normal lives, we will be able to gather again, go to church again, hug again… but for some this Good Friday that we find ourselves in will have much too lasting effects. Those who have been laid off and can’t make ends meet for this extended period, those who got sick and passed away and their loved ones grieving for that loss, those who cannot stay home and keep safe because they can’t afford to, the kids who are now going to be going into next year a full 3 months behind on their learning and the teachers who have to try to help them catch back up.
This year, with all that’s going on, my mind is drawn to those who aren’t sure of their Easter morning, those who sit and wait in their Good Friday for longer than one night, one month, one year… Those who can’t ever see an end to the grief and sorrow. This Good Friday my prayer is for them. A prayer of resurrection for those who have lost their livelihoods, a prayer of restoration for those whose lives have been torn down, a prayer of rebirth for those who feel like they’re already dead in the water. May God use us do in them the same wondrousness that we celebrate every Easter morning. Amen.