A grieving, angry meditation for Good Friday
Jesus’ friends watched him die.
People talk about letting themselves grieve what this pandemic took from them. Ya know, I finally found an amazing faith community/friends where I could be myself. And now. I can’t be with those people. And that’s what I’m grieving because this is the first time in my life I’ve had that. And I’m fucking pissed about it.
Today is Good Friday, the day we commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus, the man who claimed to be the Son of God. The hero of our story fucking dies. Our heroes aren’t supposed to die and leave us staring into the darkness after we’ve watched him bleed out and struggle to breathe. I’ve watched enough Grey’s Anatomy to know that the phrase “We did all we could” doesn’t help in a time like this. When the guy you’ve been following around for several years gets crucified…
How do we sit with that? Peter and company ran away and hid. John the beloved stays beside Jesus’ mother as she grieves. Mary Magdalene in this particular account stays and watches him die and watches where his body is laid to rest so she can anoint him. What’s it like watching your best friend die? Or having one friend betray you and sell you out for a few pieces of silver, another pretends he doesn’t even know you to protect himself.
There’s not anything fair about death and grief. They fucking suck. We’ve seen so many reports of people dying from COVID-19. Many of them are dying alone because family members aren’t allowed to be with them. Dying is awful enough; dying alone is absolutely tragic. There are so many lonely people out there right now having to live in isolation. I miss being with my friends. I miss being with my faith community. I miss the laughter and moments shared in a room full of people who care deeply for one another. I’m an introvert of the introverts with social anxiety that’s off the charts, and I still need people. Everything is hard. Everything takes so much more energy. We’re all so very tired. So tired of watching people die. Especially when it’s because of lack of access to medical care and supplies that everyone should have but doesn’t because there are selfish people and power hungry government leaders. I digress. Or maybe…this is exactly what I should be talking about.
So Jesus dies. Actually, Jesus is murdered. Executed by the State for daring to challenge the status quo and threatening us all with a good time where we love one another and treat each other well. Even Jesus asks why God has forsaken him. He dies but he doesn’t die alone.
At some point in our lives, if it hasn’t already happened already, we will witness death. And at some point, all of us will experience death personally. Death is personal, is what I’m trying to say. But it’s also communal. No one should die alone. At the end of his life, Jesus’ friends showed up and witnessed death with him. They stayed with him even though there was this separation. They showed up, they stayed, they buried their friend and took care of him in death just as they did in life.
Good Friday isn’t just about death. Ok, it’s mostly about death, but death doesn’t have to be the end of the road. May we walk with one another through life and through death. And may we all participate in life with one another even from a distance.