Holy Friday (Death and Despair)

In the stillness of this night, I walk through a shady grove of cedar trees…  my mind races backwards in time, I think on a certain garden in Gethsemane.

Our LORD praying fiercely, His sweat becoming as great drops of blood falling down to the ground, agonizing of all that is to come. The Lamb of GOD.

It is a mild evening. Seasonably warm, with cool misty breezes rising up from the nearby valley, low clouds hurry past a full moon…  the dew is already wet upon the groaning earth. I wonder if the Earth groaned to receive the blood of its Creator.

I wonder, do His children?

Hours later… out into the morning I find myself, again, thinking on the observance of this day. It would have been about now, this sixth hour of my watch, where Pilate washed his hands and sealed His fate.

Pilate. With, no doubt, a dismissive tone he asks: “What is Truth?” This feckless bureaucrat who dares to speak of truth, as its very incarnation stares him in the face; no more than the religious authorities of the day, spitefully inquiring of the Sabbath to its very LORD.

A distant sunrise crests the horizon, and I stare hard into the growing slivers of blinding rays. I tell myself that it is the heat and the light that brings tears to the corners of my eyes. It is a pleasant enough fiction.

My fitful and restless sleep is interrupted by the nearby church bells tolling solemnly. It is the ninth hour of the morning. The Son of GOD is nailed to a Cross, an instrument of torture, but it is only the first of many agonies that my LORD will face upon this morning.

Exhausted and miserable, this is my final coherent thought before surrendering to the sweeping black embrace of deep sleep.

Suddenly…  I am awakened again by the shaking of the earth, the death of Christ still swirling within my hazy consciousness. Still in a partially dreaming state, I think I am seeing that dark moment. “Eli Eli lama sabachthani?” All hope and reason is dashed against the rocks of Golgotha, in the darkness I see all reality crumbled into absolute nothingness.

O, but it is not a mystic vision…  my beloved has drawn the curtains close to shield my sleeping eyes against the bright sun of the creeping afternoon, outside a heavy logging truck rumbles over an adjacent highway.

Still, the thought remain within my awakening mind. Messiah has died. All is lost.

I finally arise from my bed, laconic and dour.

Hours meander and hurtle, I lose time like pocket change within the folds of an overstuffed couch, it passes from me unawares. Twilight brings forth remembrances of that Day and I know that, before the Sabbath hour, the LORD was sealed in the tomb.

By the dying light and creeping darkness, I am filled with the bitter gall of despair.

Now, it is another evening. Deep and purple, with a slightly waning moon and starry sky… and even in the crushing darkness of this night, my Spirit slowly begins to rise.

For it is Friday, it is only Friday…  and Sunday is coming.


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