Good Friday of Holy Week

Gospel Lesson: Mark 14:43-15:47

Key Verse: Some women were watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James (the younger one) and Joses, and Salome. When Jesus was in Galilee, these women had followed and supported him, along with many other women who had come to Jerusalem with him.

We know Mary Magdalene, although she gets an undeserved bad reputation. The other Mary might be Jesus’ mother, since tradition has it that two of his brothers are James and Joses. As for Salome, this is notthe daughter of Herodias, who danced in exchange for John the Baptist’s head, but one of Jesus’ disciples who has come with him from Galilee. There they stand, at a distance, but near enough to see and hear the agony of death on the cross. There they stand, silent witnesses to the sacrifice of their beloved Lord. We who watch distanced by centuries, comforted by what we know comes next, often turn away, unable to bear the horror and grief. Yet there they stand, watching and waiting, these women of Galilee, who cared for this One’s needs, supplied food and places to rest and sleep, listened to his stories and watched him heal broken people and broken lives. There they stand, providing strength to one another, holding one another as grief and fear shakes their bodies. Yet they stand, and watch. Watch until it is finished, determined to see where they take him. For there is one final service to be provided. His body that was anointed before his death by unnamed woman will be anointed once again. That is their plan. Named and unnamed, the sisterhood of the disciples from Galilee will care for their Lord.

Meditation/Call to Action
  • Those of us who have stood at the bedside know the feelings of grief, loss and love as life slips away. Can we – dare we – imagine what it would be like to watch in public, from a distance, as our loved one perishes from a cruel death? What does it take to remain at the cross?
  • Have we ever poured our time and energy into a movement, an opportunity, an experience, only to find it slipping through our fingers, never fully realized or completed?
  • Was Jesus’ death more than just a leader’s death, but also the death of a dream of new life?



O God,

            our presence at the cross does indeed cause us to tremble,

            as our hearts break and our eyes fill with tears.

The depth of your love for us becomes real in that moment,

            for you are willing to be sacrificed to give us life.

Help us, in the darkness of this day,

            remember your promises,

            rely upon your assurance,

            and keep us near to your heart. Amen.

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