A Sermon for Good Friday

By: David H. May, Rector

There are so many words, so many in this story of Jesus last days and hours. So many. There is so much to try to say to describe – ‘here’s what happened’. The crowds would have been huge in Jerusalem for the Passover. There would have been people there on pilgrimage from all over the Mediterranean. So many different voices and faces and characters are there in this scene of Jesus’ last hours on this earth. It’s dizzying to sort them all out and to find your bearings. In my imagination, it reminds me of a day in 1972 when I stepped out of a cab in Times Square in New York by myself in the clothes my father had bought for me for my first solo voyage out into the world. I was dressed as a buttoned-up southern gentleman though all of 13. And what I saw and heard, like Jerusalem at the Feast of the Passover, was overwhelming. Haitians running three-card Monte in heavily accented English and Russian cabbies shouting out sounding to me like Boris and Natasha from the television cartoon show Bullwinkle, and tourists laden with cameras from Des Moines or Tokyo or Hamburg, and Indians from the South Continent dressed, to my 13 year old eyes, so strangely. It was a cacophony of the whole world in all colors and languages surging in this one place.

The Gospel of Jesus’ death describes a scene just as dizzying where we are bounced around in the surging crowd just as bewildered as a kid from the south in Times Square. And it’s hard to know where to stand or what to do or to know where you belong or even who you are in this crazy scene that seems to be accelerating towards some hidden but inevitable place. Who are you in this crowd? Where do you stand? Whose side are you on? – because knowing what side to be on seems to be of the utmost importance these days.

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