This Friday, as we remember Jesus’ death on the cross, we remember his abandonment. We recall that he cried out to God and asked “why have you forsaken me”? We remember his torture, loneliness, and death.
And then on Sunday we switch back to the other 364 days of the year where we proclaim Christ triumphant.
Triumphant. Because that’s what Christianity has become. To its detriment.
We’ve been too busy being the world’s biggest religion. Invading countries, fighting Muslims, telling people how to think, behave and feel. And then declaring that God has given us worldly riches as some kind of crude pre-rapture thank-you to butter us up before the big day when we get to stand in front of him and boast about all the wonderful things we have done.
It’s Good Friday. God is dead.
Jesus was abandoned.
It’s always Good Friday somewhere. There’s always pain, always suffering, always evil, always doubt, always struggle.
Today as you remember Jesus going through the worst of all kinds of pain, think of those who struggle with their faith. Those who feel as though God really has abandoned them. Those for whom Gods abandonment has been self evident in their rejection by mainstream church – either explicit for their “sins” of homosexuality, or unorthodoxy; or implicit for their flaws and failings as human beings, rejected by a subculture that no longer looks anything like the man who came to create it.
We share in this responsibility. We are a community. We are all in this totally, totally together.
Remember what happened when Israel disobeyed God? When it didn’t listen to his advice and his help, and his commandments? God abandoned Israel.
God has promised, through Jesus, not to abandon us in the same way. The least we can do is return the favour.