The Good Friday Sermon from the Rev. Joe Hensley, rector, St. George’s Episcopal Church
Fredericksburg, VA | April 3, 2015
The collect prayer for Good Friday, which we prayed earlier, included these words: “Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross.” Jesus was willing to be betrayed. Jesus gave himself into the hands of sinners. Jesus suffered death upon the cross. We call this a “good” Friday, because Jesus was willing to surrender, suffer, and die, and he reveals the awesome and mysterious generosity of God’s love. God’s love is so abundant and forgiving that it can absorb our worst behavior and still have more to give. On Good Friday, Jesus made a sacrifice. On this Good Friday, we are invited to make a sacrifice as well. We are invited to offer all that we are, our best and our worst, to the crucified Christ and hold nothing back.
What do I mean by this? Sometimes in our relationships with God and in our relationships with one another, we have a tendency to hold back. We do not say everything we are thinking or feeling. We do not express our whole selves. In our relationships with one another, this is very appropriate. If we said everything on our minds and hearts…if we held nothing back, it would likely hurt feelings and cause a lot of unnecessary trouble. TMI! Too much information. I don’t need or want to hear everything that you are thinking or feeling. But in our relationship with God, we get into trouble when we do not share everything. When we hold back from God, we suffer. We suffer, because we tend to hold back the things we’re not proud of, the things that most need healing: our shame, our fear, our anger. We somehow got it into our heads and hearts that God only wants to see shiny happy Christians. God expects us to dress up for church and look our best and pray with pure and strong hearts. No! God knows us. God knows that underneath our Sunday best, we carry around some heavy and messy stuff. We do not have to hide that from God, but we try to. We try to, because we think we can handle it. We think we can figure it out on our own. [Read more…]