It is seven minutes until three o’clock; the time that Jesus was on the cross is about over.
In our home on Good Friday, from twelve until three was to be a quiet time out of respect for our Lord’s suffering and crucifixion. As children, we were not allowed to play outside but could only stay quiet in our home until three o’clock. I try to live quietly during that sacred time, but today I had many obligations to fulfill. I did, however, have time to zoom to a Good Friday church service from two until two-thirty.
Years ago, I read of a practice of carpenters on the day of Good Friday. It was a day when a believing carpenter would refuse to drive a nail. Ever since I read of that I have sought not to drive a nail until that day of crucifixion was over. I have forgotten at least once, but that was to help one of my children to hang a picture in her room. I will never forget when it was realized that I had broken the carpenter’s promise, there was an apology from my child. She felt sorry, too.
The sound of a hammer on Good Friday is an “echoing difficult upon your ears”. If you think of how Jesus was made to lie down on the cross and then to have nails driven into his hands and feet, it is too cruel a thought to bear. He and his cross would have been lifted up, and the cross placed in a hole that had been dug for that purpose. His mother is there. It is a picture that only changes in its deep black sadness on Easter Sunday with the resurrection of our Lord.
Down in my woodworking shop, I have been making two windows to fit in the side walls of the room behind my garage. That work I did not continue today for it meant I would have to drive some nails to continue it. Those nails will be driven tomorrow.
There is a time when we Christians need to stop our ordinary “life-days” and think of our beautiful Christian faith. Ours is a faith that recoils from cruelty and the injuring of another human being. The Christ follower is one who wishes to build a society of love and caring and hopes to do so by example. In fact, example is the only way to create a loving world of kindness.
My beloved professor at Boston University School of Theology, Dr. Beck, stated one day when teaching that the only word that is important to the Christian who wishes to follow the Master is “kindness.” Consider that word.
When Jesus was called to minister to others and he preached in his hometown, he was rejected by his town-folk. What gave him authority over those whom he had grown up with in Nazareth? He was greeted with skepticism not kindness. When He healed a person on the sabbath, he was greeted with anger and threats, not kindness. He had broken the law.
When he ate with those who were sinners and needed a new beginning in life, he was greeted with defamation of his own character not kindness.
Even his own followers would deny him out of fear. Denial of knowing the Master was not a kindness. On the night of the last supper in the Garden of Gethsemane, his disciples fell asleep rather than support Jesus by their own prayers in His time of need. Yet all through his ministry, Jesus was teaching love and kindness. Over and over again, Jesus spoke of forgiveness of each other, of loving not hating your enemy. And how are we? Are we like Him? I think not!
Let’s make a promise to be kind and loving. If we look at the cross, we see our Lord Jesus Christ dying amidst those who hated him. There were some brave followers who stood near by the cross, but most had deserted him.
Our Christian faith is at a serious crossroads. What will happen after the pandemic is under control? Will people return to the church? Will our children and grandchildren become followers of a Christ who preach of kindness and love, who tell us not to think of ourselves but of others? Do any of us remember the word “sacrifice” for the sake of others? Do you think to serve someone is degrading and demeaning? Do you think that of a Jesus who washes the feet of others?
Let not the Christ upon the cross who forgives others and loves you and I be so disregarded that an Easter Joy is unknown by the generations who follow. God wins in the long run, that I believe, but let us make that time come to fruition not a thousand years from now but tomorrow. Our faith of forgiveness and love and resurrection to new life on earth and beyond earth must not perish.
This Easter may we recommit ourselves to our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This Easter may we renew the Christian belief to treat others with kindness. This Easter may we vow to care for the church we attend that future generations may be taught of our loving Savior.
“And now may the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other. Amen.”
Your comments on our walk are always welcomed on the Comment page. I look forward to hearing from you.