Good News on Good Friday

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Written by The Rev. Fr. George Roberts, Rector of St. James, Farmington

We read and hear with crystalline clarity St. John’s narrative of the Passion, which ends with Christ’s last breath, “It is finished.” Yet in Christ’s last breath, the foundations of the world are shaken, and the power of death and the Evil One are overturned forever. God’s saving action in the world, through Jesus’ painful sacrifice, changes death to life, loss to hope, and rescues joyful victory from the jaws of darkness, defeat, and death.

Still, Good Friday is a day of remembrance of our Savior dying on the Cross, in complete innocence, which should make us mindful of the suffering world beyond the walls of wherever we live or attend worship. The ongoing violence in Gaza, the war in Ukraine, the ceaseless conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the gun violence that takes place in our own country serve as reminders that the Passion, and death of our Lord did not create a utopia in our here and now world. We are still, in some ways, living into the reality that Christ suffered, at least in part, precisely because we struggle to honor God in the way we fail to live together in peace. We are still works in progress and have a ways to go to become like the kingdom Christ meant for us to be.

St. James Parish in Farmington decided this year we would engage in a project for Lent that allowed us to enter deeply into the Passion of Jesus Christ. We invited the artists among our congregation to create Stations of the Cross from their own unique artistic perspectives and experiences, depicting the suffering of our Lord. We used the Stations of the Cross prayers from the St. Augustine Prayer Book (© Forward Movement) as inspiration. Accompanying their work, each artist wrote a short reflective piece on how their station came to life. We could not have imagined what the response would be, but we were all blown away and amazed at the work our homegrown artists created! The Stations of the Cross, created by the St. James artists, are profound, inspiring, and deeply moving.

Our Stations of the Cross project is active, too. We gather together each Friday evening at 5:30 pm during Lent and pray the Stations from a beautiful book created to highlight the art of our parishioners. Praying The Stations of the Cross dates to the medieval era when pilgrims could not make the journey to Jerusalem to walk the Way of Sorrows as a way of honoring Christ’s Passion. We continue to go on that journey with Christ each time we gather, each time we say the prayers, and pay homage to God in Christ for the release from sin and spiritual captivity. Good Friday is a sad day when we commemorate Christ’s suffering and death. Good Friday is a good day, too, as we are pulled once again into the reality of just how much Christ loves us.