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Lenten Reflections Project 2022

Good Friday | April 15 | Meredith Barnes

Mark 15:33-41

And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

Today is Good Friday, a day recognized in the Church as the day Jesus was crucified. It is a day of both sorrow and joy. A day where the mystery of God is fully realized as we await for hope even in the face of devastation. Pain, loss and hardship are a part of every person’s life that you encounter. Though no two people have the identical story of tragedy, if you look, pain is seeded in all of our paths.

Sometimes in our pain we feel alone. We ask questions like, why me? There is no perfect answer to the pain you have gone through. But there is a perfect God who, knowing your pain, lowered himself to show you that he understands the pain of this world. That he would subject himself to the tragedy of human flesh and bones to release a hope that can’t be taken from you, no matter what you are going through.

Pain and hope dwell as one on Good Friday—and everyday—because of the tragedy of death that lead to the hope of salvation.

In this passage, as Jesus takes his last breath, the curtain is torn in two. The curtain in the Temple was used to keep the part of the Temple that was considered the holy of holies separate from the rest of the Temple. Only the most consecrated high priest would enter once a year. It was a representation of the relationship that Jews had with God. They could not approach God, even in true atonement for their sins, they needed an intermediary as well as sacrificial offerings.

Jesus’s death offers an intimacy with God that has never been seen before. Sacrifices no longer need to be made for the sins of the earth, rather all are welcome to approach God with the sacrificial blood of Christ.

I imagine those in charge of the temple made a new curtain, not understanding the significance. They continued on with their traditions and laws, not knowing the intimacy God was inviting them into. A sign ignored. What might be the signs in your life from an intimate God that you have missed or ignored?

Prayer: Though the day is good, the moment is hard. The hope waits ahead but the pain seems to linger. I long to enter into your presence, to walk through the torn curtain to be in your midst. But so often I ignore the signs you have sent me, the requests to walk in your will. Instead I cling to what I know and understand. To remain comforted by ritual. Open my eyes to your signs and wonders that draw me into intimacy with you. When I can only see the loss, remind me that there is hope in you.

* Meredith Barnes has a deep love of words.  Find out more about her and her words at: