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Friday, April 6, 2007

John 19:28-30
Knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Mary wept. John held her. The other disciples cowered in various corners of Jerusalem. A black cloud covered Golgotha. The temple's ultra-private chamber was breached, and the curtain hiding the Holy-of-Holies tore in two. Jesus died, and nothing would ever be the same.

Terror and despair rushed through so many. Pilate watched the hill. His heart raced with doubt. His wife looked at him in anger, remembering her dream. What Pandora's box had Pilate opened with his meaningless gesture of innocence? Washing his hands!

Jesus said he brought "living" water, but now he was dead. His own life had been extinguished for no good reason at all. And now the heavens were opening; doubt plagued every accuser. Awestruck soldiers found themselves on their knees. Unheard-of words came to their lips, "Truly, this was the Son of God!" How could he not become a martyr?

Jesus listened to his Father always. Every step he took with Him. He spoke his words. He healed in the power his Father gave him. Now he was dead. What happened? Jesus said even this was the will of God. How could that be?

"Father, forgive them. They don't know what they're doing." Jesus loved his enemies. He turned both cheeks. He gave up his cloak and his shoes and his robe and his life. He prayed for them. He forgave them and interceded with God for their lives.

So much grief today on the brow of Golgotha. The hill of death is crowned with crosses once again. Jesus is taken down and his mother's tears soak his quickly cooling skin. Once she wrapped him in swaddling cloths, now she wraps him in burial linens. A mother should never outlive her child. What is there to live for now?

It's Friday. All day.

Put your hand on me, Lord, and tell me it will be OK. Tell me I have nothing to fear. Please, Lord, never go away again. Never go away again.

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