- The Revd Camellia Flanagan
A sermon for Good Friday at Grafton Cathedral, 10 April 2020
Isaiah 52:13-53:12 Psalm 2,2 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 John 18:1-14; 19:1-6, 16-18
+ In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Saint Paul said, writing to the people of Corinth, “God is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord’.”
The birth, death and resurrection of Christ clarifies for us the nature of God.
If we allow ourselves to contemplatively gaze on the cross with eyes from the depth of our soul, we will always be healed, no matter what our need. With unexpected wisdom we can safely give in exchange at the deepest level, our wounded soul. The mystery of the cross, the rejection, suffering, passion, death and resurrection help us to understand our own tragedies, because God is in the midst of it and love is holding it in the palm of his hand.
This is the mystery of our faith that we proclaim: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. In his death the Wisdom Jesus has exposed violence and injustice for what it is. It is the sin that his death and resurrection has conquered. It is the wisdom and the infinite love of God we find in the events of the cross, that shows us how we need to change our way to find the treasure where our hearts dwell, as we wait for Christ to come again.
In other words, just as a grain of wheat must die and be in the depth and darkness of the earth, to bring the new life of a new plant, Jesus died to bring life. The wisdom is clear. If you want to live you need to die.
The tragedy of life is that the violence of wars has not taught us. The droughts, the floods, the fires, earthquake and climate change, the small and large human disasters have not taught us. Perhaps a pandemic virus might eventually help us to find the wisdom that in everything, good and bad, celebration and tragedy, God is in the middle of it all and that is not the end .
God is in the middle of it all, leading us to some sort of resurrection, gathering us in his everlasting love and healing our wounds and renewing our spirit. God is participating in the suffering, not just looking on from on high, and that changes everything.
The mystery of God in suffering leads us to compassion and understanding, it leads us to change and become as Jesus after the Cross, to become Christ to others.
At the heart of this is wisdom and love.