I love my family. My marriage has been good—thirty-plus years day-by-day with the love of my life; I’ve watched three children grow and run and laugh. Then I try to see myself capable of willingly sacrificing any one of them on behalf of others—and not just “others,” but on behalf of my enemies and those who hate me. I try to imagine what I would feel if my children would suffer at the hands of ignorant and wicked men. Then I try to imagine it was my idea, my request, my plan. With such imagination I realized Jesus did not suffer alone. The Father and the Spirit shared the pain. It’s a Good Friday meditation – at he cross, God suffered three ways.
Every loving parent has experienced this in some measure. Your child falls and scrapes her knee. Your child falls and breaks his arm. More chilling: your child falls ill and dies. You would willingly take their place. Perhaps you have offered God that very deal.
A Good Friday Meditation
As an Easter meditation, consider this: God experienced the cross three-fold. We are familiar with Jesus’ suffering: the agonizing night in the garden where he offered up prayers through loud cries and tears; the betrayal of his closest friends; the shame and humiliation of arrest; the torture of beatings and lashes; and the slow death on a cross.
In each event the Father suffered, too. Put yourself in the Father’s place. Everything Jesus endured, the Father suffered in the way only a loving parent can suffer.
Nor did the Holy Spirit stand by, stoic and detached. The Spirit’s energizing love brings glory to the Son and the Father. In the suffering death of Jesus the Spirit’s life force was held in check while all creation rejected the Creator.
God, the Holy Trinity, suffered three-fold. Each suffering was unique. Each suffering was a kind of death. Each suffering paid the price to liberate a captive and hostile world.
Good Friday Meditation: Community Bears Suffering Together
Yet this Good Friday meditation is not merely a downer: there’s a lesson in the revelation. Community bears suffering together. In perfect community our sufferings are shared. Perhaps these sufferings are not lessened, but we are not alone even as the Father, Son, and Spirit are never alone.
God, who is sweet community in himself, divides the suffering. He spread his suffering among himself: Father, Son, and Spirit. His empathy is great because he understands the grieving mother and the abandoned child. He has lived their lives.
A Good Friday Meditation – One More Lesson
His divine community offers at least one more lesson: community multiplies joy. Whatever is good and true and filled with life becomes common property. This is the math of heaven: suffering is divided; joy is multiplied.
Jesus offered not only cleansing and redemption. He extended his hand and said, “Enter into the Master’s joy.” All that heaven holds dear becomes ours, and all our sorrows are born by the great cloud of witnesses, chief among them the High King of Heaven.
This Good Friday meditation originally appeared here, and is used by permission.