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Leaning Into Holy Week: Good Friday

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"Almighty God, we beseech you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the Cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen."

I’d like to very briefly look at two features of our Good Friday Collect this evening. The first is the language of “behold this your family.” This Collect is obviously meant to be prayed in a church context, but it presses us to realize that the very people that surround us in the church are the new family that God has created. We don’t choose our biological families, and we don’t choose our spiritual family. God will save whom he will save. Sometimes this annoys us, and sometimes it does much worse. Just like in a family unit, we are broken people living life together: we hurt each other, sometimes severely. The good news for the church family is that we are united by something more powerful than any sin we can perpetrate against our Christian brother or sister: the free forgiveness offered to us all by Jesus on the Cross, which enables our forgiveness and love of each other.

The second feature is the end of the Collect, which prays that Jesus “now lives and reigns.” The Collect for Good Friday, which is dedicated to remembering the death of Jesus, cannot help but acknowledge that Jesus is alive. It cannot help but mention if only implicitly, the resurrection. Just as the Maundy Thursday service must at least gesture toward the Cross, the Good Friday service must in an ever so subtle way gesture toward the resurrection. This is because the Cross and Resurrection are two sides of the same coin. They are each as necessary as each other for our salvation. Lose one, and the other becomes meaningless. The whole Incarnation, Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus are one seamless salvific whole. And by faith, we are united to all of it. Thanks be to God. Amen.

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