The Contemplative Companion for Good Friday, April 14, 2017

So they took Jesus, and, carrying the cross himself,
he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull,
in Hebrew, Golgotha.
There they crucified him, and with him two others,
one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.  – John 19.17 – 18

Our Lenten Journey completes today – Good Friday. In our worship and liturgy, the church often focuses on the evident “torturous” aspect the crucifixion. And it is easy to see why. But the spiritual MEANING of Good Friday is more than a recapitulation of a historical event in a small province of the Roman Empire two thousand years ago  as recorded in the various Gospel accounts.

Good Friday is also more than the remembrance of a torturous form of capital punishment. It is more than the recitation the grief of Jesus’ disciples, friends and family. And it is certainly more than a Christianization of the Jewish Paschal feast – turning Jesus into an innocent “lamb of God” offered as a blood sacrifice for the sins of the world.

Contemplative author Bernadette Roberts helps remind the church that the spiritual MEANING of the death of Christ is that Good Friday is “the Feast of No-Self.” And that the sole purpose of our physical death is to transform us – from one way of being a self to another Way of Being in God as Christ, which is the Union of the divine with the human.

This union IS PURE MYSTERY, but nevertheless was Revealed in and through the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus of Nazareth, whom the church and scriptures bear witness to as Jesus the Christ. Jesus the No-Self-Man. Jesus the first-fruit location of the Union of Human nature and Divine nature.

Thus, when Jesus died he demonstrated on the stage of human history the Truth that our ultimate human life is hidden in God. As the body and the self die they die to experience a new way of life: the resurrected life. The no-self life. When Jesus dies on Good Friday on the Cross it is a Revelation of the Way it will go for all of us: to die means to die to our self bound way of being in these bodies so to be raised to a resurrected life with God in Christ – and this Life and this Way are sheer Mystery and pure Grace.

Today, as in every day on this planet, millions of people will die. Some will die peacefully. Quiet. Surrounded by loving family. Others will die unexpectedly, tragically, painfully. Alone and in distress. How we die is really not the issue. The Cross is the symbol of Every One’s Death. The Cross is Death. Yet Death is Our Fruition. Our Life-Flower. We are born for it and we move toward it every day we breath. Death is our necessary pathway into a deeper, different Way of Being – a Way that Jesus called The Love of Abba. And that Theologians call Perichoresis – the Dance of Light, Life and Love in the Divine Trinity.

© 2017 All Rights Reserved.

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