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Good Friday Message, 2001

We call this day good but how can we? Yes, I know why we call it Good Friday, but when we call it good we ignore His suffering and His death. In our greed, selfishness, and ego we call this day good. Yet Christ died on this day not to preserve our greed, selfishness, and ego, but to save the best part of us. Christ died to save the container within us that holds His love, His grace, His mercy, and His passion. This is the day of the year that I wish would end quickly for it is a day of mourning and grief. Every minute of this day I am constantly thinking about His suffering. We call this day good only because of ourselves. We are to die with Him on this day. Yet, He has spared us from knowing fully about all that He suffered.

Are we going to go about this day as if it is like every other day? Are going to pretend that on this day darkness did not come over the world? Are we going to go about our daily routine and do our daily jobs and not remember. On this day of remembrance, mourning, and grief, are we not going to remember, mourn, and grieve? Sadly, for most people they will not remember, they will not mourn, and they will not grieve. In a few hours I will stand before homeless men who have no hope, no inspiration, no perspective, and who are totally lost in life. I will deliver a seminar to help them as I do each week. However, on this day of sadness I hope the Lord keeps me a little more subdued and a little more humble. For Christ died on this day of darkness and I am grieving a bit now. Yes, I know there is a Sunday. You know it too. However, when you truly love someone with all your heart, all your soul, and all your might and that person suffers then you suffer with them. And He suffered as no other person suffered. And I do love Him with as much of my heart, soul, and might that I have.

Maybe I should not take this all so personally. Maybe I should just occupy my mind with other things. Maybe I should be "objective", cold, heartless, and selfish about Christ death on the Cross. Then again, I do not have that kind of heart. He is my friend, my supporter, my source of new things to post here, he is my Savior. I cannot be objective, cold, heartless, and selfish for He has molded me and shaped me. He has given me a sensitive heart to pour out this kind of personal grief for the world to see and know about.

What must the Blessed Virgin Mary have felt on this day? Who could even begin to fathom the pain in her heart? What must the other Mary and John have felt on this day so long ago. None of us is capable of knowing or even speculating what was in their hearts as they watched our Savior die. What do we feel about Him? Do we die with Him? Do we take in His love and immerse ourselves in His mercy? What grips us about this day?

It is believed but not documented that Christ died about three o'clock in the afternoon. There had been an earthquake and the sun had gone dark. All day the Blessed Virgin, the other Mary, and John had been there. What devastation they must have experienced! What doubts must have filled the minds and hearts of Christ's apostles and followers! What darkness had fallen upon the world! We can look forward to Sunday. However, none of these people could look forward to anything. All they could do was weep. What devastation the power of Satan and evil had wrought! What devastation the power of Satan loves to bestow upon the world! Do we still weep or have we become hardened and uncaring?

The Lord's body would have been taken down from the Cross by this time of the day. It is the end of the workday for most people. It is time to go home, to relax, and to rest. It is time to put the day behind you. However, do you suppose the Lord wants you to put what happened to Him behind you? It has been a long day. This particular Friday is always the day of the year I dread the most. It is the day that never seems to come to an end if you spend it in remembrance, in grief, and in mourning. What do we do now? We keep remembering while the rest of the world either forgets or goes about pretending this day never happened.

Reflections 2002

A lot has happened in the last year. September 11, 2001 changed a lot of perceptions. Many persons who never thought much about God or Christ started thinking about Him. Our world, as I write this on March 25, 2002 stands at the brink of massive war, perhaps a world war. Our nation has adopted the position of using nuclear weapons on a first use basis. The terrorist threat of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons grows daily. There is a seething hatred among Muslims towards Jews, Christians, Israel, and the United States. Good Friday in 2002 may be a day of immense suffering for people in Israel, the United States, and the allies of the United States. Yet, there is a backdrop to Good Friday 2002. The backdrop is Christ dying on the Cross. What grief and pain He bore for each of us! What is it that makes so many so blind to His sacrifice? What makes the world treat this Friday as any other Friday except for a few "religious" people like you and me? I know the answers to these questions but the answers are painful so I avoid them.

I did not know whether I could find anything to say about Good Friday 2002. I rarely use the personal pronoun "I" in my writing for you are the focus of my ministry. A few hours ago, I wondered if I would have writer's block about Good Friday this year. In some ways, I do have writer's block about this day. I cannot put suffering down in words. No words I could ever write would ever communicate Christ's suffering. What makes Good Friday bearable is knowing there is a Sunday. Praise our God, there is a Sunday.

Prayer For Good Friday, 2002

Lord, you know I am weeping inside because of your suffering.
You know, Lord, of all the days of the year, Good Friday is the day I dread the most.
Maybe I should not be so focused on your suffering but you and I know each other too well for me to ignore what you went through on that day.
People have missed what you died for.
Our world is at the brink of war and this time it may be a war to truly end all wars…at least until future generations forget and try and make war again…or until you come back.
We need you.
We need you but we crucified you and yet we come to you with our hand out like greedy dope addicts who want another fix.
Forgive us Lord.
We still do not know what we do.
If we knew what it is we are doing we would not do it…or would we?
You know I pray to you every day.
I talk. You listen.
Occasionally, I shut up long enough to listen.
According to your will, wrap your arms around the world.
For there are so many who will suffer who do not deserve to suffer.
For there are so many now who suffer who do not deserve to suffer.
And the very worst of times has not yet come.
If we are plunged into a cataclysm, give all those I pray for a special protection.
Give all those who read these words a special protection.
For I know you can. I trust that you will.
Thank you, Lord Jesus.
Thank you for all you did, all you are, and all that you will do.
In the name of Christ Jesus who suffered beyond measure, in the name of God who had to witness the suffering, and in the Name of the Holy Spirit who may still surely carry the pain of the Cross this day. Amen





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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018