God of Suffering

IMG_1984Today is Good Friday.

For most of my life I saw this day as a historical remembrance. Just as we might remember Pearl Harbor or September 11th, today we remember the crucifixion of Jesus.

However, over the last decade of ministry, I have come to see the cross differently.

Good Friday is not just a reminder of an unnecessary execution 2,000 years ago, it is the sign of God’s solidarity with people who are suffering and struggling today.


We shared it today as several dozen people went on a pilgrimage around our community in an Urban Way of the Cross. Nationwide Hospital Chaplain Susan Kyser invited us to allow our hearts to be broken as we thought about times that we had thrown a stone or scourged someone. Deaconess Sue Wolfe illustrated the ways families are under siege while people who are in power don’t have the will to make it different. Using a participatory response of Goldilocks, Rev Lou Seipel showed how children who don’t learn patterns from reading, can’t develop patterns of thinking, which leads to patterns of the prison pipeline.

Lamar Wooden shares his story of struggle and hope

We not only saw places of suffering, but also recognized places where people are helping to carry the IMG_1992cross beam and wipe the brow. A pharmacist at the Charitable Pharmacy shared the community she finds in serving others. Robert Williams and Katelin Hansen stood in a new community garden where newly planted trees will bring rest and comfort. Rev John Edgar spoke of the relationships and community created through programs like the Free Store.

Good Friday is more than a marking of the calendar. It is a connection between the suffering God and the suffering world. But even on this darkest day of the Christian year, we find hope as we stand together and work to bring God’s kingdom on earth, as it is in heaven.



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