Good Friday 2016 Homliy

Good Friday 2016

 

 

We’ve all seen them:  crosses planted by the side of the road.  Stationary crosses that come into view as we drive past. 

Stark reminders of that common denominator we share, despite our denial and what we vainly cling to:  our position, status, career and what’s been stored away that, sadly, cannot last.

These crosses planted by the side of the road were placed by loved ones and those who care; who suddenly and tragically have lost someone they loved, and love still…someone vital to their lives, now taken from sight. 

We’ve seen them planted by the side of the road.  Yet, does it ever cross our minds as we whiz past from one temporal thing to the next what they mean and are saying to us?  Do we take time to ponder their message?

Often, we do not.  And our hearts, unchanged, move on as life inexorably goes on, with its sometimes mad march toward death.

Such crosses say to anyone willing to listen and take them to heart is that these lives mattered.  The one who died was loved, and made a lasting impression upon the heart of another.

Such a cross planted by the side of the road says beyond words that such suffering and death is somehow part of a greater mystery.  For it shadows that greater and life-giving cross this earth has ever known. 

Each of us planted on this earth for a little while is part of a greater mystery whether we realize it or not in the time allotted us; a Mystery that cannot die, nor end. 

 It’s this enduring hope such crosses by the side of the road recall and want us to remember if only we would slow down and take the time:  that we are made to be loved and not be forgotten.  This alone has the power to hold us together when everything seems to be falling apart; that love is stronger than death. 

This is the good news that the Cross of Jesus and all crosses since announce within this death-driven and wearied world of ours.

Tonight, a Cross is planted at the heart of this community of faith.  Its mystic wood, like some primordial tree offers life-bearing fruit:  the fruit of mercy, of forgiveness, of salvation.   Its roots run deep and reach into the very heart of God.

This is the cross that bore the Savior of the World, weighted with Love.   Jesus is the One who loved us to the end, and loves us still despite the tragic and killing nature of sin.    Despite sin’s ruthlessness  we are loved despite ourselves; a love that uproots the hold sin has on us with its resentment, sadness, indifference and fear if only we make the time to take hold of the One who loves so deeply; who loved us to the end and loves us still…who waits for us until the end of time.

Tonight, we venerate and touch such a cross and life-giving tree.  We encounter for good the One who loves, and lives, and mercifully understands us through and through; who knows fully and completely those inner rings of our storied lives and receives us with outstretched arms.

Tonight, we encounter and touch Christ ever in our midst; Jesus who only wants us to see that all of us matter; to believe that any suffering or death we face is part of a greater mystery that does not come to an end  but “goes ever on and on” as C.S. Lewis has written in his “Chronicles of Narnia.”

Tonight by this holy and glorious Cross planted in our midst we touch the One who died for us; who loved us and loves us still.

Let me end with words by the writer Peter Kreeft:

He came.  He entered space and time and suffering.  He came, like a lover.

He sits beside us in the lowest places of our lives, like water.  Are we broken?  He is broken with us…

Does it seem sometimes as if life has passed us by or cast us out, as if we are sinking into uselessness and oblivion?  He sinks with us…

Does he descend into all our hells?  Yes.  ”No matter how deep our darkness, he is deeper still.”

Love is why he came.  It’s all love.  Henceforth, when we feel the hammers of life beating…on our hearts, we can know—we must know—that he is here with us, taking our blows.  Every tear we shed becomes his tear…he makes them his.

Love is why he came.  It’s all love now planted on this earth and deep within our hearts, never to die but to remain with us always.  For “Deep waters cannot quench love, nor sweep it away”, this love stronger than death. 

Father Tim Clark, Pastor

 

 

 
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