Good Friday is an enigma. “Good”, describing the day an innocent man died horribly, is a weird tag. But maybe it’s good when seen within the context of three other words that begin with “G.”
Gently. Fear is the residue of imagining we can control things and then realizing we can’t. Instead of scrubbing every minute of today with “What should I have done…What can I do…” questions, perhaps being a bit gentler with ourselves is a better way. Jesus went to the cross gently, and not with anger and fear. He gave himself up to the power of Rome, trusting that a greater power lay underneath. Such trust undercuts fear. May we live with ourselves and with those around us gently.
Graciously. The gentleness of Jesus enabled amazing grace. He forgave the soldiers cursing and torturing him? Really? And then, after hours of slowly dying, he humbly asked God to receive his spirit? Yet the cross calls us to grace those around us when our lower nature would call us to give them a good “?#*!” instead. If we discover fear retreating in the face of gentleness, the voice of the world might not so readily intrude upon our lips. May we live with ourselves and with those around us graciously.
Gratefully. Jesus teaches, through example, that gratitude underscores life. He wanted the cup of suffering to pass from him, yet he gratefully lifted up his life like he lifted up the bread and cup at the Last Supper: with a blessing. Living fully allows for blessing. Driven by fear while chasing the illusion of control doesn’t promote thankfulness, but blinds us to the wonder which envelops us. Being liberated by gratitude, even when life leads into darkness, is better than daily imprisonment. May we live with ourselves and with those around us gratefully.
The cross reminds me of why I’m a Christian. You can’t invent such an amazing man as Jesus of Nazareth. You can only be overwhelmed and intrigued. “Greater love has no one than this, that he lays down his life for his friends.” Those are the words of a man who lived gently, graciously, gratefully. Through his grace, so may we.