Reflections on Easter: Good Friday

{Dear Readers, I was out of the country, focused on a project I have been doing over the past few months, and so while traveling I refrained from posting.  I am now back in San Francisco and resuming my reflections on life lived.  I thought it would be appropriate to start where I left off:  right before Easter.  Therefore, the next three entries will be subsequent reflections on Good Friday (the day remembering Jesus' crucifixion), Holy Saturday (the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday), and Easter Sunday (the day remembering Jesus coming back to life or in other words, resurrecting and offering a different way of living in this world: one of love, redemption, and deep healing that leads to freedom).  Recall that I was preparing to have folks from a variety of backgrounds over and was stoked to open and welcome my home on this occasion to family and friends.  With love, Jessica} GOOD FRIDAY:

Growing up, I never knew what was 'good' about Good Friday, and further, I didn't quite make the connection that this 'Friday' was linked to Easter.

On one hand, I did. Every year, Good Friday was two days before Easter.

On the other hand, I didn't. What was the purpose of this Good Friday? I had gone through the motions so many times my body couldn't tell you, though my mind I am sure, could rattle off the occurrences if asked during any point of my childhood.

Over the years, and particularly over the past handful, I have somehow made the inert connection that there isn't an Easter without a Good Friday.

There is no resurrection without passing away.

Without the Messiah's death, there would not be Life.

On this particular Good Friday-- on my way to a service at Grace Cathedral-- I walked past a woman wearing a long shirt (long enough to cover just most of her poor, nude bum, leaving exposed her raw inner thighs).

She was dancing with the person reflecting back at her from the plastic gloss of an advert as if it were only she and this 'person' in her world.

She is moving and the other 'person' is moving. She is dancing and the 'other' is dancing. She is wearing hot blue eye shadow and the 'other' is--but is also silently wailing.

There is an ache so loud I can barely stand to hear it. And I wonder how Christ contains himself.

She (and her image) continue to dance away, most likely induced or 'inspired' from the drugs she's so evidently on, numbing all of herself from the pain.

Walking past her, my heart broke. I couldn't contain myself.

I prayed for her as I paused and looked back at her wondering how a bystander could help her when it was clear she was not asking for help.  (Can someone truly help another when a person does not realise they need help?  I have been reflecting on what the Good Samaritan story really is...)

I then wondered if we aren't all prostitutes before God-- dancing with our images of ourselves (while being in clear denial and self-hatred of who we really are on very deep, subcutaneous and subconscious levels).

Before heading down the stairwell to catch my train, I couldn't help but pray for all of us:

Lord, help us when we are prostitutes before you, when we dance with our images and not with ourselves. When we numb our pain instead of finding deep consolation and love in you.

All of these thoughts were especially poignant and tender on this Friday when I commemorated who Jesus was: a fully human and fully divine person revealing and offering a way of full existence, not defamation of ourselves or others.

I believe he was crucified by us because the Way of Life that he offered to us was too uncomfortable and too challenging for us: believe it or not, it is incredibly difficult to love ourselves (and others and God) well or to just love at all, period.