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Good Friday: It is Finished, but the Story isn't Over

As I gaze out of my living room window this Good Friday morning, I can't help but notice the symbolism in the sky. All week, I've been checking the weather forecast, wondering if our annual Good Friday Easter egg dyeing event would wind up being a wash due to bad weather. Almost every year, our area receives bad weather, including the threat of severe storms on Good Friday. I'm inclined to believe that's not a coincidence.

The Death of Jesus (Matthew 27)

45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 

46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lemasabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). 

47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.” 

48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 

49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” 

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 

52 and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 

53 They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. 

54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” 

55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 

56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

A darkness fell over all the land... it's dark out today. The skies are cloudy, and later today, the winds, rain, and perhaps lightning will come, lasting through the time of our Good Friday service at church. Our family will take up an entire pew, and together, we'll sit in the darkness as we're haunted by the melody of a soloist singing 'Were You There?' We'll join together singing emotional hymns like 'O Sacred Head Now Wounded,' and shudder as the cross is brought into the sanctuary and we hear the pounding of the large nails being driven into the cross. Tears will fall from my eyes, as they do each year when I remember what was done to Jesus, my friend, and that He suffered a gruesome death on the cross for me... yes, for me. The death of Jesus seems to get lost somewhere in the mix of corporate worship, or for some, it's just remembered as historical detail. For me, it's so deeply personal. I did nothing to deserve such an outpouring of love, and yet, Jesus did this for me anyway, because He loves me.

We'll leave the church in silence, laying our own individual nails at the foot of the cross. Later tonight, life will go on as usual- kids being crazy, laundry to finish, Easter preparations yet to be completed. I'll head home with my loved ones, wiping those tears away, giving thanks for what Jesus accomplished- giving me a direct connection to God and showering me with His grace each and every day.

Though my heart will be heavy, tomorrow, I'll wake up, perhaps with the same hope of Jesus' disciples and those who loved Him most. I'll wait with anticipation for Sunday to come, because friends... Sunday will come. How great is our God? The story continues, as Jesus' body is laid in the tomb, the stone rolled in front of it.

Good Friday. It is finished, but the story isn't over.
Sunday is coming. Get ready.

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