|Orlando: Good Friday. |
Fused glass panel by Michaela Youngson
At Foot of the Cross
Here is Grace.
Here is grace, in all its humbling power – that love, so free and so creative, is willing to stoop so low, to ask so little, to give so much. And we look upon love’s face and find ourselves rooted to the spot. It would be so much more comfortable to deny, to hide, to run away – yet with the mothers and lovers and disciples and friends, we stay here. We look upon grace and we search our hearts, asking ourselves again ‘how can this be, that the creator of all, hangs, choosing helplessness, that I and all humanity might be loved this much?’
Here is grace, in our world where power warps the human heart, where the power-grabbers and status-hoarders will sacrifice anyone but themselves to cling on to wealth, false dignity and empty status. Here is one who lets go, who does not grab or cling or lord divinity above all others – here is one who empties himself of all power and pours love into the world. We live in a time where truth seems to be a fluid commodity and facts are cut, like cloth, to fit the desires of the story-teller. And before us hangs a person who offered truth, not fake news but good news – not for the comfortable but the poor, not for the complacent but for the passionate, not for the perfect but for those who know they need help, not for the holy but for those who long to be whole.
Here is grace, in the place where heaven reaches down and touches earth in blood-stained hands, where creation is embraced by arms outstretched, and the monarch wears a crown of thorns. All the accepted wisdom of the noblest and grandest, the student and the teacher is turned upside down, as all that to the world seems foolish, humiliating, hopeless is in fact the way to true wisdom. To be emptied of all ambition, is to be filled with all possibility; to let go of certainty is to ask new questions, to die to one’s self is to be made alive with the glory of God.
Here is grace, that love works to break down the barriers between the holy and the mundane. Love is active in freeing us from the fear of death, from the fear of hardly living at all. Love pays the price of releasing us from our limited perspectives and opening our minds and hearts to the fullness of God’s love.
Here is grace, Jesus Christ is love’s endeavour – the work of God. Jesus Christ is love’s expense – paying the personal price of loving without limit, that we might grasp a tiny insight into the enormity of God’s love for us and for all creation. So, we remain, watching the drama unfold. We remain, wondering at such grace, such love. We remain, here at the foot of the cross, because where else would love have us be?
Michaela Youngson, Good Friday 2017
Service of Reflection at Methodist Central Hall Westminster