Good Friday means you don’t have to suffer anymore. While following your dream – God’s vision for you – may entail sacrifice, it is not demanded, nor does God desire that you suffer to find healing and wholeness. Jesus came that we might have life in its abundance. While we may choose to sacrifice (and choice is key) for the well-being of others, for example, we go to the pharmacy at 3:00 a.m. for our child or partner or spend Christmas at the cancer clinic rather than engage in revels, this sacrifice is about growing in soul, not personal diminishment. It is about love that breaks down the barriers between people.
When Jesus went to the Cross on Good Friday, his motivation was love. It was a love that revealed his spiritual stature. He followed his calling, and identified his wellbeing with the healing of the whole earth. He sacrificed his isolated ego for the well being of all creation. Indeed, his self became as large as the planet’s.
Good Friday invites us to grow in spirit: to identify with the suffering and celebration of life – to rejoice in the wellbeing of others and to experience pain in their suffering. To paraphrase the philosopher Whitehead, God is the “fellow sufferer who understands.” God is also the “joyous celebrant” who rejoices in beauty, love, and success.Good Friday means you don’t have to suffer anymore – but in growing in stature, you can embrace the joy and sorrow of the universe as part of the Great Love in which we live and move and have our being.
Bruce Epperly is a theologian, spiritual guide, healing companion, retreat leader and lecturer, and author of nineteen books, including Holy Adventure: 41 Days of Audacious Living; God’s Touch: Faith, Wholeness, and the Healing Miracles of Jesus; and Tending to the Holy: The Practice of the Presence of God in Ministry. He has taught at Georgetown University, Wesley Theological Seminary, Claremont School of Theology, and Lancaster Theological Seminary. He is currently theologian in residence at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His most recent book Process Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed will be released in May 2011. He can be reached for lectures, seminars, and retreats at firstname.lastname@example.org