Where Were You on Good Friday?
Today is Good Friday, a day where those in the Christian tradition tell the story of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion, his brutal death at the hands of an Empire that crucified routinely as one means of maintaining their power. This story about Jesus’ death is about one particular person, but as Christian scripture tells us, it is also about many other people.
“…Truly I tell you, whatever you did unto the least of my siblings you did unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)
And when we pass laws making it a crime to be trans in North Carolina, and when suicide rates for trans folks, already way too high, go up, we crucify Jesus again.
And when trans women of color are murdered at alarming rates and we do not stop it, we crucify him again.
And when Black people are killed by law enforcement, when people of color die in immigration detention or jail, we crucify him again.
And when we send refugees away because we’ve been taught to fear anyone who shares their religion and they die from terrorism, from disease, from drowning, we crucify him again.
And with gun violence, and with lack of access to health care, and with climate change and with poverty, with all our human brokenness, apathy and cruelty we crucify him again and again.
“…Jesus cried out in a loud voice… ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)
I do not believe in a God who abandons, but I believe in a God who works in and through us. And I believe that many of us have forsaken Christ among us, Christ as embodied by the most vulnerable. I know I have. Perhaps you have too. And perhaps you know the fear and despair of being the target of an Empire’s violence, a crowd’s hate. Many people know both – have been the one forsaking and the one forsaken in different ways at different times.
Some of us have been mocked and spat at by crowds, and some of us have seen injustice playing out and passed the situation along to another authority figure, not wanting the blood on our hands. Some of us have cheered for violence and some of us have run away to hide afraid. Some of us have denied our loved ones and some of us have carried the cross for another. Some of us have wept and wailed and some of us have changed our minds too late.
This story is an ancient story, but it is also the story of right now.
And I believe in resurrection, in Love stronger than death, bigger than hate, more powerful than fear. And I have seen resurrection, miraculous life affirming moments born of connection, of struggle, of solidarity, of caring for each other.
But we are not there yet; today is not that day.
Today is a day to reckon, to mourn. To see ourselves in this ancient story. To know, if we are the ones forsaking, that it is God’s own body we are doing violence to, to repent and sin no more. To know, if we are feeling forsaken, that God is in us, and with us and never leaving us even in our suffering, even unto death.