Then Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus. -John 19:16
Today we remember the execution of Jesus. We remember that we was tortured, nailed to a cross, and left to die of asphyxiation. Yes, we know how the story turns out, that he is raised from the dead, that there is life beyond this gruesome day. But a rush to get to the good news is like telling a person not to grieve the death of their child because “she’s in a better place.” Of course ignorant, well-meaning people do this all the time. But that doesn’t mean we should!
Today is for lament, for grieving. To let the horrific news stories hit you. To see suffering when we would normally look away. Because today we remember that God Almighty hung on a tree, too. That God Almighty suffered violence, too. That God Almighty took the brunt of the sin in our world, too. Not just to give us a happy ending, but so that when our happy endings are so very far away, we know God is with us then too.
O God, my God! You suffered for me! And I will never suffer alone. Let me draw upon your generous love for the rest of my days. Thank you! Amen.
Try having your children draw what makes them sad as a prayer to Jesus. Talk about how today is a sad day, but still a good day, because God is always with us!
Spend 30 minutes in silence today, letting yourself feel the empty fullness of Christ’s death.