Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they cast lots for his clothing. - Luke 23:34
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ - John 19:26-27
Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’ - Luke 23:42-43
The story of Jesus' death on that Good Friday is a powerful one filled with pain and suffering. It is hard to imagine the depth of pain and the overwhelming weight of suffering that Jesus felt as he was beaten and mocked, marched up to the hilltop trying to carry his own cross, nailed to that cross, and hung there to die under the cruel heat of the sun. Yet, we too know pain and suffering. Perhaps our pain is not as deep or as intense. Perhaps our suffering is not as burdensome and soul-crushing. Perhaps there is not the meaning and purpose to our pain and suffering. Still, we know what it is to be in pain and to bear the weight of suffering. We know the way that pain can grow until it consumes who we are and how suffering can blind us to the extent that it becomes all that we can see.
Something that is miraculous about Jesus' story of pain and suffering as he was crucified is that he never forgets those around him. Even as they mock and beat him, Jesus prays to the Father that those who are hurting him may be forgiven. Looking down from the cross, Jesus sees his mother and his beloved disciples. Concerned for how vulnerable and lonely they may be after his death, he charges them to take care of each other as mother and son. Seeing the criminal hanging beside him on another cross, sharing the shame and pain, Jesus promises him that they will meet again in heaven that day. Even in the midst of his deepest pain and suffering, Jesus does not forget that we too are in pain and suffer. That is a miracle of Good Friday - that the God who has made all the world knows our pain and suffering, perhaps better than we do, and remembers us all the while. Whatever burdens we bear today, may we remember that God is with us and knows what we are going through.
Blessings on the journey,
Tonight at 7 pm, we will gather at the church for a healing service. We will read the Good Friday story of Jesus' crucifixion, and then pray for our healing and that of our community. Bring your burdens and concerns, and be anointed by God's healing.
Easter Sunday Services
We celebrate Easter with a community sunrise service at Grottoes Town Park at 7 am with Pastor Jim preaching and other community pastors leading prayers and communion. We continue our celebration of Easter with a special service at our church at 9:30 am. The children will share some special music, we'll join together in singing some Easter favorites, and we'll gather at Christ's table for communion. During our worship, we will talk about waiting - what are we waiting for God to do, and what do we do while we wait?
News and Updates
Find out what is going on at Port Republic UMC this week and in weeks to come!