My name is Meghan Hatcher. My spouse, Corey, and I first attended UCC on Easter Sunday 2022 and joined the church officially in December. It’s been our distinct joy to be part of this beautiful, caring, and affirming community of faith. Thank you for welcoming us so fully.
If you’re reading this message on Good Friday, we are midway through the Triduum – the three days spanning the evening of Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday. As we enter this period in the Church’s calendar, the movements of our faith’s story and our liturgies pick up speed. It’s a veritable sprint from Jesus sacrificially washing his friends’ feet; to his brutal arrest and crucifixion at the hands of the Roman state; and finally, to his totally improbable resurrection. So much unfolds in these three days and, if you’re like me, you’re prone to rush past the emotions of it all.
As people of faith in 2023 we have the tremendous benefit of history. We know how this story ends. We know that what John 19:30 tells us was not, in fact, Jesus’ final act: “When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” But what if for today you place yourself in the role of Joseph of Arimathea or Nicodemus, the two men who received Jesus’ beaten and lifeless body, prepared it for burial, and laid it in the empty tomb (John 19:38-42)? What might it have felt like to truly believe your teacher, friend, and the person who just might be the Messiah, was dead? Gone. No more.
My encouragement to us all is that we sit with the grief, discomfort, and unknowing of Good Friday. Because in reality, Good Friday is a lot like our lives sometimes, isn’t it? We don’t always know that Love wins, hope is coming, and grief will be defeated. Let us not rush past this reality, but instead, pause long enough to feel the weight of Good Friday. That way the incredible hope of Easter Sunday will be that much more precious this year.