Along with Holy Cross Day (September 14), each Good Friday is a good time to contemplate the meaning of the cross in our lives. That reflection includes remembering with both sorrow and gratitude Jesus’ redemptive death by gruesome torture—nails in his wrists, thirst/hunger, exhaustion and his slow death by asphyxiation. In his suffering and dying we are granted forgiveness and salvation—a precious gift born from Jesus’ self-sacrifice.
What we might overlook, though, is the eventual possibility that self-denial will become necessary for the good of the world. This seems more evident as we approach the (literally) gathering storms of global warming. (These days, I often find myself thinking, “I thought that these disasters would occur after I died, but they’re happening right now!”) It seems painfully evident that, in order to save the planet and its inhabitants, all of us will have to sacrifice some of what we have taken for granted. What we think we deserve. Even our “rights”….
These experiences—small Good Fridays—will require more than kindness or altruism. Seeing our capabilities and responsibilities for self-giving acts, we will cede some of our well-being to the ultimate benefits that will accrue to others.
Good Fridays of this kind are coming. Some may seem like punishments or paying the price for centuries of society’s misdeeds. The “good” part of these coming days, though: The results of our self-giving will accumulate as part of the ongoing redemptive acts of God through God’s people.
Be ready. Be willing.
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