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Friday, March 29, 2024 – Good Friday

The bulletin may be accessed by clicking “Read More” below and looking under "downloads" at the bottom of the page.


Being Present to Suffering

“Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” asks the hymn. As we enter into John’s gospel for Good Friday, this is a good question. How are we “there”? How are we present to Jesus’ suffering and death—in our hearts and minds, our communities, and our world? What is the meaning of his suffering and death for us? Good Friday worship invites us into such questions and through them forms our faith and guides our lives toward compassion. Traditions such as the Way of the Cross enable people to imagine themselves present with Jesus in his last hours before death.

In Good Friday worship, we accompany Jesus to the cross with other witnesses who show various ways of being present—or not. A fearful Peter denies Jesus. A group of women keep watch and weep for Jesus on the cross. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus take care of his lifeless body. Watching, weeping, caring, and even denying are all common human responses to suffering. Becoming aware of our own witness and responses, we can be present more compassionately to Christ crucified, wherever and whenever we encounter him in suffering and injustice.

Even as we consider how to “be there” in the face of suffering, we know that, as always, Jesus has gone first. The reading from Isaiah reminds us how Jesus, through his death, is present with us in our suffering. We can trust that wherever we go and whatever we go through, Jesus is “there”; he can “sympathize with our weaknesses” (Heb. 4:15). We know that we are not alone in our own suffering and death, and we consider what to do now with that knowledge. Good Friday draws us into a community that wonders together: how can we be “there” with Christ crucified in our world and share the hope of resurrection in such places?


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