Good Friday is about tears.
I’m not sure about the word Good. I never have been. But maybe that’s because I’m not sure about Love either. Not when it is hammered to a tree. Not when it bleeds, skin pricked and split. Messy and unexpected.
Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect, he said. Ok, yeah, no pressure. But Perfect is suspicious, too. I like Holy better. Be Holy as I am Holy, said the Great Mystery. I like that word, too. Mystery.
Maybe Good and Perfect and Love aren’t what we think they are. Maybe they aren’t the opposite of Bad and Shattered and Hate. Maybe they aren’t about being a little girl whose dress is without spot; whose hands are folded and she never talks too loud. Maybe it isn’t construction paper hearts or ‘I’ll give you the moon.’ Maybe they are Holy Mystery.
Holy Mystery Friday is for tears.
Not tears because the internet is down again and the computer has decided to not open any Word documents at all and the printer ran out of ink and now I’ve printed the wrong sermon and I’m in the pulpit modifying on the fly. Tears because the world is so broken.
We have this crazy idea that God killed his boy. His one and only child. And I get that, I mean, that is what it says after all. They made a cross for Mary’s Boy. But Mary’s boy is God. And the Great Holy Mystery did not waltz down Mt Zion and nail him to a tree with Thor’s lightning-charged hammer. We did that. I did that. You did that. We human beings did that. We needn’t blame anyone else. It didn’t take a god to kill a god, Dianna Princess of the Amazons, plain ‘ole human ingenuity got the job done without any help from above or below.
I saw a movie a few months ago called Wind River. It was based on an actual story about a Native American girl who had been raped and murdered. It was every bit as terrible as you are trying, right this minute, to pretend it wasn’t. There’s a scene with a police officer, a white woman like me who was trying, in that moment, to pretend it was all going to be ok and that she was going to be able to fix it. She walks into the bedroom of the mother of that girl. The mother was crying. That is a word for it. Crying. She was cutting her own forearms and the blood was running out. She wasn’t trying to kill herself. She wasn’t trying to live either. She was hurting. She was grieving; so hard it was running through her skin.
Grief is messy and it isn’t pretty and it isn’t Good. It is Holy and it is Mysterious. But it is also hell on earth, too.
I think that’s the best image of Good [Holy Mystery] Friday I’ve ever seen. God grieves. God wails. God mourns. God weeps so hard it comes running out through her skin. The skin of Jesus on the tree, pricked and split and messy. God’s children are broken and dying and we did the breaking. Fathomless lists could be made of how we have treated one another. We did that. I did that. You did that. We human beings do this to each other and to this Good and Perfect world.
That’s what this Holy Mystery Friday is. The heart of God nailed to the tree. And we, standing here watching, trying to pretend it is all going to be ok.