Good Friday: A tale of two cities

Last Updated on 12 April 2022 by Ann-Marie Nye

As we prepare to mark the death of Jesus on the cross on Good Friday, the Revd Geoff Felton, Moderator of the United Reformed Church Mersey Synod, compares and contrasts the city of Liverpool with that of Jerusalem; two cities that have had their fair share of difficulties:

Welcome to Liverpool.

Liverpool receives 54 million visitors a year from all over the world and the city  has a population of almost half a million people.

Liverpool has two cathedrals, two premier league football clubs, three universities, a vibrant music scene and too many bars and restaurants to count.

It has theatres, museums and so many great things to do as  a resident or just a visitor we don’t have time to list them!

It is a world famous city, one which people travel from all over the world to visit.

Liverpool has also had its fare share of difficulties. In WW2 it was devastated by bombings, in the 1980s the political elite spent so much time arguing over what was best for the city that they let it spiral into economic and social decline and of course the Hillsborough tragedy has left its mark on the DNA of so many people from this wonderful city.

As we consider Good Friday I’d like to introduce you to another city.

2000 years ago Jerusalem was a world city that welcomed pilgrims from afar. It was a centre for trade and a thriving place of learning and new ideas.

It was however like Liverpool, a city that had its difficulties. It was an occupied city that squashed anything deemed against the state. It was a place of warfare that had been fought over for many hundreds of years. It weas a plkace where the wealthy and those in extreme poverty lived side by side.

Into this mix came Jesus Christ promising the hope of a new Kingdom, one that would last for eternity, would that wouldn’t be marked by warfare and oppression but by the reign of God, of justice, hope and peace.

That was too much not only for the religious elite but also for the political taskmasters of his day and as such Jesus was dealt with by crucifixion. We read in the gospel accounts of his death on the cross and his suffering at the hands of the powerful and the privileged and this is the First Good Friday.

So what can we take form this today?

Let us remember that there was purpose in the cross.

Romans 5 says –  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

And it goes on to say what went on on the cross was the reconciling of ourselves to God.

Christs death achieves the unification of relationship between ourselves and God.

But lets go back too to the cities we have spoken of. Jerusalem is still a city of oppression and pain for many people. It is still a place where people are still unlawfully arrested and detained for seeking justice and doing the right thing.

Liverpool too still has its problems socially and economically.

Let us remember this Good Friday to pray for cities and towns known to us either nearby or maybe on the news further afield where people are suffering and where justice is not done.

This Good Friday may you hold on to the hope that Jesus Christ brings and may you walk in the reconciliation that he achieved through his death on the cross.