What Good Friday teaches us about cynicism
“For believers, the complete story of Good Friday and Easter legitimizes both despair and faith. Nearly every life features less-than-good Fridays. We grow tired of our own company and travel a descending path of depression. We experience lonely pain, unearned suffering or stinging injustice. We are rejected or betrayed by a friend. And then there are the unspeakable things — the death of a child, the diagnosis of an aggressive cancer, the steady advance of a disease that will take our minds and dignity. We look into the abyss of self-murder. And given the example of Christ, we are permitted to feel God-forsaken.“And yet . . . eventually . . . or so we trust . . . or so we try to trust: God is forever on the side of those who suffer. God is forever on the side of life. God is forever on the side of hope.”
Having experienced Depression, I do recognize the deep sense of despair in Jesus’ words: “My God, why have you forsaken me?” Depression isn’t sadness, it is a state of complete hopelessness. Darkness keeps descending, and there is no reason to believe that dawn will ever come again.
But I have also experienced the faith that can follow despair. Faith means different things to me on different days-- sometimes it is awe at the wonders of the Universe; sometimes it is a simple sense of comfort in a community; sometimes it the crazy, counter-intuitive way that Love can triumph over fear.
And to be perfectly honest, sometimes my faith is just a simple link on an unbroken chain of 2,000 years of believers, stretching all the way back to those “cowardly friends [who] became bold missionaries, most dying torturous deaths (according to tradition) for the sake of a figure they had once betrayed in their sleep.”
I don’t personally know for sure what happened 2,000+ years ago in Jerusalem. But I find it compelling that that the people who WERE there on Easter Sunday were willing to die for a Truth that seemed totally inconceivable to them on Good Friday. Their failings and denials during Jesus' trial and execution seem relatable, but their courage and audacity afterward are something altogether different and inspiring.