From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)
Matthew 27: 45-46
Today, on Good Friday, we hear the sound of lament.
Where we long for light we are shown darkness. Where hope is pursued, challenge is found. Where we long for life to abound, death prevails.
Good Friday is an invitation to stand in this place, hearing Jesus’ cry of lament at the overwhelming brokenness of creation. And now, as we do so, we are called to encounter this cry as it is heard in creation around us now.
Romans 8 tells us that “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time”, and that “the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed”.
Today, do we hear and recognise the groan of creation in the climate crisis?
In wildfires ravaging Australia, do we hear the earth’s lament?
As land is swallowed by sea, do we recognise the earth’s longing for healing?
As we watch families being forced from their homes by conflict over the earth’s resources, do we acknowledge that our life is tied with the life of creation, our brokenness tied with its brokenness?
In the mourning of Good Friday, we are joined by the groaning of creation. As Jesus cried out on the cross, he embodied the lament of God hearing the cry of all creation.
Today, as we are invited to step into the opening chapters of the Easter story, we often do so longing to rush to the ending. Where we know light is uncovered in darkness, and life is offered where death was seeming to take hold. We step into the Easter story after a long Lent of waiting, watching, going without. We are waiting expectant with the earth, ready to join with the noise of creation which expresses not groaning but praise, with the crying out of the stones that long to sing ‘Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’(Luke 19:38); with the mountains and hills that ‘will burst into song’; with the trees of the field as they ‘clap their hands’ (Issiah 55:12).
After all, this is a story of death and resurrection. How can we resist running ahead to the promise of life?
And yet, for today, on Good Friday, we are invited to exist in the opening moments of this death and resurrection story for a while. We are invited to hear and respond to the groaning cry of creation’s brokenness. We are invited to be unsettled by the reality that death still moves amongst the earth, and lament that we play a part in its existence through the ways our behaviours and structures harm creation and one another. We are reminded that this reality plays a part in how we respond to God’s offer of life to the full, for ourselves and for all of creation.
Soon, very soon, we will be welcomed with open arms into the resurrection life of Easter Sunday. But for now, might we stop, to encounter the darkness of Good Friday, and listen to its invitation for change.
Today’s reflection is written by Hannah Brown. Hannah is the Campaigns and Church Engagement Officer for JPIT. This her second Living Lent and she is committing to not buying anything new.