Good Friday wrapped
I don’t mean by that title that I have Good Friday wrapped up… what a strange and difficult day it is. “‘Tis mystery all, the immortal dies!” as Charles Wesley expressed it. This morning Andrew and I walked a little way along the River Kelvin to worship at Woodlands Methodist Church – only 12 in the congregation, but a powerful and moving service (the first of three for him during the day). At one point Andrew spoke some words which seemed to connect with where my thinking was going; “This is the day when God takes responsibility for everything in the world that has gone wrong…” As we look at Syria, Brussels, Palestine and so many places, or, much closer to home, the tragic murder of a young girl here in Clydebank, there are too many situations that have gone wrong, badly wrong. Dare we believe that God not only takes the consequences of wrong, but also takes responsibility?
My own parallel thoughts had been to realise for the first time how much I welcome Good Friday, with no sense that I want to rush through it into the joy of Easter Day. Good Friday feels like a day when God comprehends my loss, my pain, my grief, my sorrow – fully entering into it, even affirming it somehow. As human beings I don’t believe we can ever really say to someone else, “I understand how you feel” but perhaps, on Good Friday, God can say that to us.
So, what has been wrapped up today? A few Easter eggs for family we will be seeing in the next few days, but, more significantly (I think) we have been eating Stollen, the German cake usually only associated with Christmas. “Stollen” means “shawl” and the cake is so named because the marzipan (baby) is wrapped in the dough (the shawl) before baking. A few years ago we stumbled upon one more of Luke’s many beautiful symmetries in his Gospel as we read of how the body of Jesus was “taken down… wrapped in a linen cloth and laid in a tomb…” (23:53) just as, (in 2:7) the infant Jesus was born… “wrapped in cloths and laid in a manger…” So, for the past few years, when I make a batch of Stollens before Christmas, one is set aside to eat on Good Friday. It could just be an excuse for a favourite cake, but today, it has reinforced the feeling that, despite the strangeness, despite the tears, despite the dark clouds which overshadow the day, I am held and wrapped in the comprehensive love of God. Good Friday indeed. Jill