It’s the evening of Good Friday, in what I can only say is the most unprecedented and disconcerting Easter weekend in recent times. And the crazy thing is, had you asked me a few Easters ago if I’d have ever imagined that I would have as disconcerting an Easter weekend as I was having then, I’d have told you I couldn’t imagine it. It simply could never be. I couldn’t have imagined anything worse.
This is a more difficult Good Friday for me than they usually would be, if one were usually specifically reflective on Good Friday of the sacrifice of Our Father, His only begotten Son. I’ll be honest: most Good Fridays I am with my mother. We are looking at wildflowers, or shopping, or otherwise spending time together. We won’t have a cheeseburger for lunch, but it isn’t like we are spending the day in particularly contemplative reflection of the sacrifices God made on our behalf with his Son. We are simply happy to be together, in anticipation of a glorious Easter Sunday celebration of His Resurrection.
This year, with this awful virus and social distancing and self-isolation, it’s a little different. My mom can’t be with us to celebrate (or shop, or look at the wildflowers.) We can’t help be more reflective, more contemplative, more prayerful about the sacrifice that is our Good Friday solemnity this year.
Several years ago, a dear friend of mine sent a series of magnificent reflections to me that can only be interpreted as a sort of divine intervention during a time of deep personal family crisis. Even though things have improved significantly since that time, I refer back to them often.
She implored us not to become discouraged in our time of despair. To “stay in the present moment as much as possible, not venturing into the unknowable future, trusting that God will give you all the strength you need to do this day,” as James Hollis, noted Jungian analyst said. To not allow ourselves to be overwhelmed with what was unknowable.
“Offering it up” is far easier said than done. But as my friend reminded me, St. Paul had some words for times like these which are proving to be more and more timeless with each passing season:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice.
And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4: 6-9
As we move into this very strange Easter weekend, may God’s peace truly be with all of us, as we each face our own individual crosses to bear and tombs to prepare. Our story, regardless how desperate and miserable, is, in fact, timeless.
I have no doubt that God is with us. Let us be with Him on this Good Friday evening.