Good Friday Is Not Supposed To Come After Easter And Yet .....

Like many people, I look forward to Spring, warmer temperatures, proliferation of wild flowers Texas Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush. This particular Spring there has been an abundance of rain and unfortunately hail. Yes, hail, as big as a golf ball or softball. It is amazing to see the kind of damage that hail can do to a house or a car. Someone, I know had to replace two cars as a result of the hail storms that have affected South Texas.
There are other storms that people experience. A friend of mine was accused of charges by a judiciary body, that were later found to be not true. My friend was maliciously attacked by another individual who in turn left the area after the damage was done. Another person I know lost a parent due to suicide. The parent, in their 50's, hung themselves and was found by a family member.
Rabbi Harold Kushner in his popular book "Why Bad Things Happen To Good People " argued that humans are not immune to human suffering. No matter how good or talented you are, not matter how well you have things planned in your life, the unexpected will occur and sometimes it will be painful.
Christianity has argued that the Easter event has triumphed and conquered death and therefore the power of death no longer rules over humankind. Yet, despite this affirmation, there are still instances when Good Friday uncannily makes its unwanted guest appearance in our lives. When you least expect it, you lose your job, or you find out that your good friends have a cancer diagnosis or you discover that a family relative is suffering from a pervasive mental disorder.
All of these experiences can impact your understanding of what an Easter life can mean. The damage can be like small hail hitting your car windshield and causing cracks or having huge balls resulting in holes in your car, in your house or your life.
What kind of faith might be needed to withstand this onslaught of Good Fridays ? Rev. Dr. Mark Henry Miller in his wonderful new novel " The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt " continues the story of his protagonist character Tricia Gleason. She is a licensed minister, taking a year sabbatical from theological seminary , and is pastoring her church in a suburban community of Seattle, Wa. Tricia, through no fault of her own, experiences a lot of Good Fridays, one right after the other including the murder of one of her church members.
At one point in the book, Tricia preaches a sermon to her congregants on having a bullet-proof faith. One of the church members, Courtney says to Tricia, " I need to know that faith is not for protection; faith is for endurance. Oh my goodness, did that ever speak to me ! You also said that to be good won't keep the harm from happening. But the good will bring us closer to God. And I imagine you know no one who needs to be closer to God than I ( The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt, P. 199 )
Courtney's observation echoes Rabbi Kushner; humans aren't immune from suffering, unfortunately we are not equipped with metal detectors or sensors or strategic iron-dome like defense systems that can deflect suffering and evil away from us.
So, if faith is going to mean anything, it has to be strong, able to withstand the impact of many blows, many projectiles, like a bullet-proof vest.
The Good News is that cycles run their course. At some point the hail storms end, at some point a new job is found, at some point a treatment works to cure a disease, at some point a heart is touched by another person and healing, even from devastating loss, begins to happen. At some point, reputations are restored and a friend is freed from cruel and unnecessary scrutiny.
We will continue to live in a world where Good Friday will make its unwanted appearance and yet Easter tells us that the Good Fridays will eventually end, and that the challenge will be how we negotiate the time of Holy Saturday to enter again into the light of Easter Day.
May we all be able to develop a faith that is strong like a reliable bullet-proof vest. May we not be preoccupied with the rear view mirror but focus ahead of seeing clearly through the windshield to look, to be guided straight ahead. Even when the cracks occur, may we reminded that they can be filled. May the cracks in our lives be filled.
May it be so.