In the Cross’s Shadow
He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
Good Friday is the darkest day of the liturgical year. We commemorate the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus and remember God’s love, grace, and mercy.
Showing the greatest compassion, God through Jesus dwelled among us and taught us to love radically, to act mercifully, and to live righteously. Jesus’s teachings brought people closer to God, reconciled communities, demonstrated our shared humanity, and reminded us of our mutual need to belong, to be nourished, and to be well.
|Photo credit: Public Domain|
By our inactions to help those who are hungry, homeless, sick, and marginalized, we seem to forget Jesus’s lessons and examples. Fearing scarcity, we clinch our fists to hold fast to what we have, while simultaneously closing ourselves from God’s abundance and our responsibility to provide for others. In the shadow of the cross we recognize that we turn away from God every time we turn away from one another.
However, God never turns away from us. Even Jesus’s last breath carried words of pardon. Forgiven, we are able to forgive. Unburdened by sin, we experience God’s grace. Welcomed into God’s kingdom, we enjoy life’s abundance.
At the cross, we see that God loves us and has not forsaken us. We remember that the darkness will not last; it is only a precursor to seeing the light of the risen Lord.
God enables us to walk in that light and in the ways of Christ. We remember to love God is to love one another. As we receive freely, we are open to give generously. God’s gifts are not just for our sake, but for the sake of all creation. And God always provides more than enough.
Merciful God, in the shadow of the cross, you provide us with the gift of salvation. In your forgiveness, we learn to forgive. Unburdened by sin, we receive your light. Guide us so that we may love radically and reflect brilliantly even in darkness.
The Rev. Bridgett A. Green teaches New Testament at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. While completing her Ph.D. studies, she also enjoys serving on The Presbyterian Outlook Foundation Board and on the board of directors of Montreat Conference Center.