I never could wrap my head around “Good Friday”. Bad Friday made more sense. These days, Evil Friday speaks to me even more.
There is nothing good about the crucifixion. Save your fancy atonement theories for another day. And don’t get antsy and start talking about a resurrection. Get your butt back here and sit for a minute or two. Maybe a few hours. And deal with the evil of this world.
When Evil Wins (Day 39 of A Simple Lent) | Friday
The Crucifixion is not good. The death of Jesus is not good. The execution of living persons by the state is not good. The torture and the abuse that was rendered is not good. The hatred and the spitting is not good. The show trial and the rigged system is not good. The betrayal with a kiss and the running from the soldiers is not good. The falling asleep and the unbelief is not good.
When I think of the Passion story, I don’t think good. I think horrible.
And a big reason for that is because evil won.
If we read a book like Harry Potter and came to the end and found that Harry had died, we wouldn’t like it. Even if we claim that’s how the book should have ended. We wouldn’t really like it. We wouldn’t recommend it to everyone we know. And we sure as heck wouldn’t read it to our small children.
The hero doesn’t die.
But if he does, he dies with purpose. He flies his fighter into the midst of the enemies to allow the other heroes to strike the base. He dies so that everyone else gets stronger.
We want Good Friday to be the hero’s story like that. But it isn’t. Please don’t pretend that it is.
Our Lord and Savior was brutalized, humiliated, and his body was utterly destroyed while being mocked. And then the state executed him for being a terrorist. Or, if you’re not willing to make that leap, the state was convinced by the Jewish leadership to give him a terrorist’s death.
There was no triumphal moment, no watching the Death Star blow up, no defeat of a more powerful supervillain; there was no total victory against the forces of evil. There was nothing like that.
The evil won.
It defeated the messiah.
Evil Sometimes Wins
Our best stories always have the good guys win. But in our world, sometimes they don’t. Really, most of the time they don’t. Evil is really formidable. Always. And often extremely attractive.
Lie? The day is young!
Cheat/Extort? It’s called getting a good deal!
Stealing? Gotta have it!
Lust? Totally want it!
Attractive and justified.
Evil wins every day.
Evil wins every time a child goes hungry. Evil wins when we allow anyone to go hungry. Evil wins when people die of preventable diseases because we don’t give them access to healthcare. Evil wins when whole species and habitats are destroyed and cultures are uprooted from their sacred land for the convenience of the wealthy. Evil wins when millions of people are displaced and again when their plea for safety is rejected. Evil wins whenever a single homeless person is left without shelter and the mentally ill are incarcerated rather than given treatment.
Evil wins every time we choose any emotion to determine another person’s fate that isn’t love.
In our world, evil wins. A lot.
That’s it. Today we remember how evil won. How evil overcame the power of good. How darkness overcame the light. And for now, that light, the light of the world was extinguished.
Don’t race ahead. Stay here for a moment. We have a lot of evils to catalog. We have a lot of praying to do. We have a lot of forgiveness to seek.
Because, regardless of the day of the week, I can see how much more work we have left to do in our own backyards. And today, this is our job. To pray and hope and find all the parts of our community which most need saving.
May we treat today like that is the only thing we have.
[For further reflection, read last year’s meditation for Friday of Holy Week!]
Daily Office Readings
- Psalm 22
- Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-33
- 1 Peter 1:10-20
- John 13:36-38 (for use in the morning)
- John 19:38-42 (for use in the evening)
Or visit the alternative Daily Office I often use.
This week’s homework is to simply be present in prayer, giving this week to GOD.
[No worksheet this week!]