Good Friday 2003
Good Friday, 2003
St. David’s, Pepperell (MA)
Katherine Hancock Ragsdale+
Let me take us back, for a moment, to Ash Wednesday and the extended confession we made then.
We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.
We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us. We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved your Holy Spirit.
We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives.
Our self-indulgent ways, and our exploitation of other people,
Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves,
Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and our dishonesty in daily life and work,
Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to commend the faith that is in us,
We confess to you, Lord.
Accept our repentance, Lord, for all the wrongs we have done: for our blindness to human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty,
For all false judgments, all uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us,
For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us,
Accept our repentance, Lord.
These, of course, are the things that led Jesus to the cross.
Maybe we, ourselves, didn’t commit the particular sins that created a society within which Jesus’ crucifixion was inevitable – but only because we weren’t born in time. We still engage in the same kinds of sins that they did those 2000 years ago. And the people who conspired against him, turned him over, condemned him, and nailed him up were, themselves, born into, and shaped by, a world already perverted by these sins long before their time.
And every time we indulge in these sins, every time we allow this brokenness to dictate our thoughts, words, and deeds, we nail him to the cross again. Every time. We help create a world in which his execution was inevitable – a world in which persons beloved of God continue to die needlessly each and every day.
And every time we choose, instead, to reject sin – to reject pride and envy and malice and greed, to reject the idea that we are the center of the universe, to reject the notion that we are not all connected in and by God’s love – every time we make those choices, every time we align ourselves with Jesus, we move ourselves and the world one breath closer to the Creator’s vision and hope.
So, now … we pray – the Solemn Collects. We pray for the broken world and those who suffer because it is broken.
We pray as our duty – for we share in the blame for the world’s brokenness.
And we pray as our exercise – for in praying we turn back to Jesus and practice, and strengthen ourselves for, rejecting the sins that cause that brokenness.
And we pray as our privilege – for, even in our own brokenness and guilt, God allows us still to work with Her to bind and mend and midwife Her dream into reality.
Let us pray.