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GOOD FRIDAY: John 18:1-19:42

By: Harriett Pyburn

There is something so heart-wrenching in hearing an entire congregation reading the Passion, calling, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” It is the ultimate prayer of confession.

In today’s scripture, there is a stark contrast between the hearts of the people of Jerusalem and Jesus’ constant way of love. Building largely on fear and groupthink, the chief priests sway the Jews into yelling, “Crucify him!” But Jesus does not live in fear. Jesus lives in love.

We talk a lot about what it means to #lovelikeJesus. Often (and accurately), we think about welcoming, affirming, noticing and loving our neighbors. I do these things best when I already feel welcomed, affirmed, noticed and loved. But today’s scripture reminds me Jesus’ love never wavers based on his surroundings. Reading this scripture through the lens of our current worldview and the corona pandemic, I am reminded that God’s love will shine despite the worst of circumstances. Sacrificial love. Unified love. Scared love… but still love.

Faithful God,

We confess that we have sinned against you as the Jews did at the crucifixion. Help us to love others as you have loved us -- even in the dark moments which you know so well. Your love is reflected in the medical workers reporting for work despite personal risk, in those delivering groceries for neighbors and reaching out to the lonely, and in those creatively feeding our school children despite closed buildings. Your love is constant even in the darkest of days. Jesus lived into this knowledge. May we, too, live into the knowledge of your steadfast love and reflect it to the world today.

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