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“Then God spoke all these words …” Exod. 20:1

Friday, April 18

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Good Friday

Minute for Mission

 

In the hand of Jesus, a broken cup is mended. Drawing by the young man described in this story

 

In the hand of Jesus, a broken cup is mended. Drawing by the young man described in this story

 

The man sitting across from me is quietly shaking. He stares blankly through the barred window. He is maybe 19 years old. He is an artist. And though less than a foot stands between his beige, cheaply constructed plastic chair and mine, distance is not always best measured in feet and inches. That’s especially true in prison.

When I first saw him in worship, I was struck by what I can only describe as gentleness—a kindness I discovered to be fairly common among the men with whom I ministered in prison, but a kindness usually less overt, and for good reason.

He tells me that he was attacked. Bad things happened to him. And I am reminded that Good Friday is a day for grieving.

The psalmist asks, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Ps. 22:1).

But God didn’t forsake this man. We did. God didn’t create prisons that warehouse 2.4 million American citizens, most of whom are incarcerated for nonviolent offenses and yet are subject to the daily violence of a place that dehumanizes at every front. We did that.

And God didn’t crucify God’s only Son. We did that too.

What God does is resurrect. So, on this day when we remember those whom the world is still seeking to break, we look toward an Easter hallelujah. But as we wait, and pray, and labor (particularly for justice), I will keep this young man’s art on my wall—a reminder of what even modern-day tombs cannot bury.

Rev. Patrick David Heery, editor, Presbyterian Mission publications

Let us join in prayer for:

PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff

Brandi Giles, PPC
Lacey Gilliam, PMA

Let us pray

God of peace, take from our hands the hammers that seal the tombs of our brothers and sisters. Take hold of our grief. Show us that today is not the end. Remind us of a love that could not be destroyed. Amen.

Revised Common Lectionary for Good Friday

Isa. 52:13–53:12
Ps. 22
Heb. 10:16–25 or Heb. 4:14–16; 5:7–9
John 18:1–19:4

Daily Lectionary

Morning Psalms 22; 148
First Reading Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-33
Second Reading 1 Peter 1:10-20
Gospel Reading John 13:36-38
Evening Psalms 105; 130

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