It started as a voice in the back of my mind…

My family and I went to Good Friday service this evening. I really enjoy the Good Friday service at our church. It’s emotional, raw, and it doesn’t feel stiff and diluted. Regardless of what you believe, what happened to Jesus Christ or Jesus of Nazareth on Good Friday was brutal, gut wrenching, and difficult to hear about. Getting to the point, I’m a believer, but it’s not fun to re-imagine this image year after year.

But sitting in the pew tonight, I started thinking about the “what ifs” of Good Friday. For a moment, thinking about the man; what would make a person do what he did? Imagine that he didn’t know “for sure” that there was some purpose to what he was doing. What makes someone go through with it? I believe I could convince myself of a lot. I believe that an obsessed or crazy person could do that, too. But at what point would a human stop the madness? At what point would a human deny even what he/she held most dear? When would the pain have been too great?

There are a lot of things that I feel “convinced” about, but with my back bare and the whip raised, what would I say? I feel sure about a lot, but standing in front of a jeering crowd yelling to crucify me would probably make me wilt. A trial, a crown of thorns, a cross on my back – when would I yell, “Stop, I’m sorry, I made a mistake”?

I’m sure my denial of what I held most dear would certainly have come before they drove spikes into my wrists and feet. It certainly would have come far before they drove the bottom of that cross into the earth. What would I have said when they paraded my mother in front of me? Could I have comforted the man next to me while I was in excruciating pain?

It’s a hard story to hear when you realize that even in today’s society he was innocent – completely innocent. He just believed in something that others didn’t. He just had convictions that others didn’t. We as humans disagree about a lot. A lot of disagreement centers on religion. Unfortunately, we’re all guilty of yelling crucify him to someone who believes a little differently than we do.

I do believe that Jesus Christ was both God and man. I believe that he sacrificed himself for everyone on earth. It’s what helps me get through when things get tough. It’s what shakes me out of my self-pity. It’s what reminds me that there is a big, big universe out there and in it I’m miniscule. When I suffer, I know that I’ve never truly suffered. I’ve always been surrounded by love.

Looking forward to Easter Sunday.