Anyone else feel as if time has done something odd. Working out which day it is requires serious thought, a diary and a good memory. Pity the clergy who are filming Easter Services on a Wednesday – quick the light is good let’s do Easter Morning.
Good Friday is always a complicated day for Christians as the rest of the world looks at a four-day weekend, puts on its slippers and goes slow. On Good Friday us Christians are up, suited and booted and ready for a long day of services, walk of witness, hymns, sermons and the last hour at the cross. It is a busy one but not this year.
This year the festival is the same but we are not. The familiar routine is taken away and we are faced with the story in all its brutality of a man arrested, abandoned by his friends, whipped, mocked and killed by the occupying Roman state. It is a hard story of abandonment, betrayal and grief. Difficult emotions.
Some years ago I nearly disgraced myself at an ecumenical Good Friday service by losing my temper and (almost) storming off in a huff. I remembered myself in time and counted to 10, made my excuses and left discreetly. Looking back, I had found myself caught out of time with the preacher in the tragedy of the story as it had been read out from the gospel. I felt a deep need to lament. The preacher was in a different place and hurried on from Good Friday to the events of Easter Day and ‘give me and Alleluia!’ Our timings were out.
As Christians we know that Sunday is coming, that after the pain of Good Friday and the long Holy Saturday there is the joy and hope of the resurrection on Easter Morning. But as anyone who has been through deep grief knows, that process of mourning cannot be hurried and we mourn at our own pace.
As we live this unprecedented Good Friday, unable to meet up with friends and family and with all the familiar routines gone it is OK to be sad. It is OK to lament. It is OK to be angry and mourn the loss of what was planned. These things will pass but they are not passing today. In the Christian story we are at the trial, at the foot of the cross, at the tomb.
This Good Friday in a time of pandemic we need to be kind to ourselves. If we are low that is OK. If we need to be busy that is OK. If those we live with or those we interact with online are in a different place that is OK as well. Trauma is a grief reaction and does weird things to our emotions.
The Christian story reminds us that the time of grief and trauma are not the end. There will be joy and renewal and hope. Sunday is coming. Jesus was and is and is to come. Until then be kind, be safe, mourn if you need to.