In five short days, the celebratory cheers and impromptu parade of Palm Sunday have morphed to angry crowds demanding a drama of vengeance directed by fear and produced by hate. The people who had shouted Hosanna now stand with the leaders from whom they had wanted to be rescued. They had asked for freedom but what they really want is power and revenge. They wrote the love and compassion that Jesus spoke of out of the script.
If the events of this day are so awful and horrific, why then do we call it good? Just what is good about this particular Friday?
In the beginning as God spoke this world we inhabit into being, God declared it good, very good. All that God has made is good. Even as we corrupt and defile the goodness of all things for our own will and way, God’s creative work is good.
God takes the terrifying, public display of human hate and redeems it through the personal acts of the few who, despite what is erupting around them, proclaim the glimpses of the Kingdom they witness.
The criminal who chose not to curse and mock Jesus and spoke the truth of the situation.
The captain of the Roman guard who saw Jesus’ true identity in death.
The women who refuse to leave his side.
Joseph of Arimathea who offered the dignity and respect of a traditional burial.
These people show us the embodiment of God’s redeeming word. Time isn’t rewound, there is no do-over. In the midst of the ugliness, the goodness of God is seen and offered and shared. Through this most horrifying method of death, God redeemed the life we had co-opted for our own gain.
The events of this day reveal the ultimate goodness of God’s love for every one: God gave his life so that we may recover the abundance of life we were created for. In Jesus’ invitation ‘follow me’ we enter into the good life that begins with the letting go of, the death of, the life we think we can build for ourselves.
God’s redemptive work happens within and through the brokenness of this world. Every time, with God’s help, we choose to step out of the fray and speak love, to offer dignity and justice where there has been none, to share our vision of God’s Kingdom in the despair of fear, we participate with God in this good work.
The Goodness of this Friday is God’s goodness given to us for the redemption of all of God’s creation.