Today is Good Friday, and in my journaling this morning I was contemplating how strange and subversive the name given this day is:
It’s hard to see how a cruel, torturous execution at the hands of imperial forces could be called “good.”
It’s easier, of course, with the benefit of resurrection hindsight. But without that, without the advantage of remembering this day from the other side of the tomb, could anyone ever have deemed it “good”?
I know all about the historic interpretations that Jesus’ crucifixion was the atoning sacrifice that reconciled humanity with our divine Source. But I don’t buy it. In fact, I would go so far as to say it is one of the greatest misconceptions ever told.
Why? Because Love is indivisible. Love is all there is. Humanity could never be alienated from our divine Source (aka Love) except in our own minds and fantasies. Nothing was ever broken, and no sacrifice was ever needed.
But boy have we spent a lot of imaginative energy maintaining the illusion that we can be cast out of Love. In fact, we’ve built up a whole world based on that illusion—entire political systems, economic systems, religious systems that would reflect back to us this absurd and fearful notion that we can be separate from one another and from the Source of our existence.
What makes this Friday “Good” is that it reveals that no matter how hard we try, no matter how unjust our systems, no matter how deep our betrayals, no matter how terrifying our fears, no matter how cruel our torture techniques, we are powerless to cast ourselves out from Love.
Take that in for a moment: no matter what we do, we are powerless to cast ourselves out from Love.
That is what Jesus was attempting to demonstrate two millennia ago hanging from a cross on a desolate, windswept hill: that all of our contriving to separate ourselves from our Source and from one another is nothing but our own fantasy. It was a fantasy he spent his life, and gave his life, trying to put an end to.
What makes this day “good” is that it demonstrates that all of our judgements, all of our enemy-making, all of our attacks and betrayals are nothing but a drama in the human mind, a story we have been playing out that there could ever be something other than Love. A story I call the cruci-fiction.
Love is inviolate. It is boundless. It holds and accepts everything. In Love not even our fantasies are judged. They are simply held in compassion until we are ready to see their uselessness and let them go.
This year, of course, Good Friday is set against the backdrop of the coronavirus, and the pairing couldn’t be more appropriate because this pandemic is putting on full display the folly of the idea that we could be separate from one another.
This pandemic (a word which literally means all people) is helping heal our minds. It is helping us see how very much we need each other, how we exist on this planet together, how we are encompassed by and united by the inescapable interdependence of Love, Love which we are powerless to alienate or annihilate.
We’re all in the storm of this pandemic right now, and we don’t yet have the benefit of hindsight. But I suspect the day will come when we will look back at this global experience and give thanks for what it taught us.
And we may even have the audacity to name it Good.