A Bible Reading: Mark 15:16-20, 33-34
The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, "Hail, king of the Jews!" Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?").
The suffering of Jesus on Good Friday came in many ways. There was the desertion by his friends, the mocking of the crowd, the abuse from the soldiers, the horrendous death nailed to a cross and the sense of desertion by his heavenly Father. People debate which part of his suffering was the worst and many believe it was the sense of desertion.
Some argue theologically that, because Jesus was carrying the sin of the whole world on his shoulders, God the Father could not look on him and actually did turn away. Personally I doubt that a father could forsake his own child at such a time as this, even though, in all the horror and pain, Jesus felt forsaken.
As Coronavirus wreaks its havoc on many lives, we hear of the sick separated from their families in hospital and dying without their loved ones around them. The sense of being forsaken must be an extra burden to bear for these people at this time, even though the reality is that they are not forsaken in the thoughts and prayers of their loved ones, they are not forsaken by our brilliant doctors and nurses who become like a surrogate family to them, and they are not forsaken by God.
On this Good Friday, let us remember in prayer those who suffer through the desertion of friends, through emotional abuse and through physical abuse and pain. And let us pray especially for all those in our hospitals today who feel forsaken by loved ones and by God.
Lord Jesus, you know the reality of desertion, of mocking, of abuse, of extreme pain and of the sense of desertion. Be with those who suffer today, and especially with those who struggle for life and those who die separated from their loved ones. May they know the love and care of those around them and the peace of your presence with them. Lord, have mercy.
Music for Good Friday
Oh to see the dawn
When I survey the wondrous cross