Today is Good Friday. For years I’ve prayed for the right emotions and meditations to come to me on this day, but I’ve never felt like I’ve grasped what I should. Today that changed.

Tonight I serendipitously ended up going to a memorial ceremony of the Rwandan genocide of 1994. It organized and run by the Rwandan students at my alma mater, and although I missed a documentary they showed, I arrived to hear the young peoples’ testimonies. As one student talked about his mother leading his family in daily prayer, then about the day she was killed, the words written of the crucifixion scene flashed through my mind– “when darkness reigned.”

Suddenly it seemed to make a little more sense. I believe today is a day of grief. We grieve the pain and price of sin. Whether it’s the sin of others, our own, or the sins of a fallen world.

When I think about the scene of the crucifixion, I think we can find ourselves in times of darkness like those there. The Roman soldiers, working on behalf of an evil and oppressive system. The Marys, watching the one they love more than anyone suffering and unable to do anything. The criminals hanging with Christ, reaping the consequence of death because of their sins– one bitter, one repentant. Pilate, powerful but apathetic. The beloved apostle, trying helplessly to stay strong and support those he loves. Peter, anguished with realization of his own guilt. And Jesus– innocent, but betrayed and abandoned.

I believe we all have “dark nights of the soul.” The moments when the face of God seems to be hidden. Maybe you can relate to one of our friends here. Faith is a painful birth. Similarly, grief is a natural and healing process. So today we grieve. But thankfully, we know how the story ends. Sunday is coming.

“Weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
Psalm 30:5

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