At first, I thought it was some sort of protest. Driving home from band rehearsal, through the traffic I could see a crowd of college-aged kids gathered on the sidewalk by the Fredonia Commons, but I couldn't see who or what was the cause of the gathering. I could hear shouting, and some were recording the commotion with their phones, but it wasn't until the light changed and the traffic moved that I was startled to see a man dressed as a Roman soldier, standing over another who was stripped to the waist, stumbling and disheveled beneath the weight of the cross he was dragging along the sidewalk. As I drove by, he raised his head and looked straight at me.
It was unnerving. What at first glance I was ready to dismiss as some radical college students protesting something or other was in reality a few young adults willing to boldly and foolishly parade their faith through the public square of the village. It occurred to me later that the ugliness of sin isn't at its worst in the grosser sins of the flesh where we so often feel its sting in our weaknesses, but in the sins of the spirit that are revealed when we are at our best. It was the holy men of God who brought charges against Jesus, and the best judicial system the world had yet seen that condemned and crucified him. And it was me on the holy day of Good Friday passing immediate judgment before I really knew what was going on.
My ten-year old grandson Nathan gave the meditation tonight at our Good Friday service. He spoke about Peter's denial of Jesus, asked how we have denied him, and reminded us of God's unending love for us in spite of all our denials. Prior to receiving communion, we were encouraged to pause, consider our sins, and ask forgiveness. Tonight, it wasn't for my weaknesses, but for my strengths which reveal the insidiousness of sin that I asked forgiveness. I a grateful tonight for the continual and complete grace of God that covers not only the depth, but the height of human depravity.