. . . At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” . . . Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!” -Mark 15:1-2, 24-25, 33-34, 37-39
The clock marks the hours of the day Jesus died. It begins “very early in the morning,” So much happens in those first three hours, and by nine o’clock they are already crucifying Jesus. At noon, when the sun would be at its brightest and the shadows at their shortest, darkness falls over the land, like the ominous darkness from thick clouds as a thunderstorm turns day into night. Then, at three o’clock, Jesus cries out and breathes his last.
On Good Friday, I like to mark the hours. In my mind I hear the deep toll of a bell announcing these times to the world.
“Bong, bong . . .it’s starting.”
“Bong, bong . . .it’s happening.”
“Bong, bong, bong . . . it is finished.”
On Good Friday, these tolling bells resonate with my emotions. I am sad, but it’s more than that. Maybe it’s the hard reality of death, made more vivid by the tolling of the hours. Or the deeply uncomfortable truth that humanity can do such horrible things to one another. Whatever the cause, it has become my custom to spend time sitting with my sadness on Good Friday. And as I do, I also hear God’s words from Psalm 46: “Be still and know that I am God.”Does Good Friday stir up feelings for you? Be still and let God hold whatever troubles you, and consider the timelessness of the lake. There are no clocks here. Sometimes there is complete silence and stillness.
When Jesus died it was as if time stopped and all creation held its breath and waited, mourned, despaired.
But time didn't stop. Death was not the end. Easter morning will come.
So for now, breathe and give thanks to God for life and breath and time and Jesus.