Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday Meditation

I've been pondering the significance of Lent this year and what the purpose of a Lenten fast really is. Denying myself something like coffee or chocolate for a certain period of time is a good discipline, I suppose, but I don't really feel like I'm growing closer to understanding the suffering of Jesus through doing it.

But how do we really get in touch with Jesus' suffering without going to extreme lengths like these guys in the Philippines who have themselves crucified every year? Plus, I'm not sure that's the point, either.

At its most basic level, I take the story of Jesus' passion and death to be a demonstration of how God experiences everything that human beings experience, and by going through these things and coming out on the other side, we know that all the pain of this life ends, but life itself does not.

The Gethsemane part of the passion story has always been very meaningful to me because it's easier to see myself in this story. I've never known extreme physical suffering, but I do know what it is to have crippling anxiety and deep, painful loneliness. I can also see myself in the shoes of Peter, James, and John, being so oblivious to how a friend is hurting that it's like I'm asleep in their hour of need, only to realize how badly I've screwed up after the fact.

So on this Good Friday, I'm using a song by Eli (one of the few Christian artists who isn't afraid to sing about what people really go through, and not just sing "Jesus is my Boyfriend" songs), called "King of the Hill", and it's enhanced with some images from Mel Gibsons Passion of the Christ.

I hope this enhances your experience of this holy day in some small way.

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