Finding courage in the cross as we walk the way of Jesus

good friday news bannerFor followers of Jesus, Good Friday is always present says the Revd Richard Church, Deputy General Secretary (Discipleship) for the United Reformed Church.

Today in public spaces all over the United Kingdom groups of people will gather around temporary wooden crosses, to the bemusement of onlookers. Often such a gathering will have been preceded by a walk through the streets behind the cross. In many places, Christians will set aside their denominational identities to walk together. We experience sorrow in solidarity.

Walking the Way: Living the life of Jesus today, adopted by the United Reformed Church as its emphasis on missional discipleship, reminds us that the path Jesus took was not without cost. In this life, the life of a man of sorrows acquainted with grief, we understand that following the way involves a death.

This kind of death is suggested by baptism and celebrated in Holy Communion. For followers around the world who are sprinkled or immersed, Good Friday is always present. For all of us, meeting to eat the fellowship meal, we listen for the words of sacrifice. The body broken, the blood poured out.

Sometimes we use the expression: ‘It’s the cross which I must carry’, referring to some illness or adverse circumstance which has come upon us. This day we remember a terrible burden, which Jesus chose out of love for the world: the volunteer who went to the cross and experienced not just the physical pain and humiliation but, for the first time, a sense of utter desolation, of God forsakenness.

In a noisy, rather brash world, we need to reflect on God’s beloved son, who chose silence in the face of the powerful and walked his way in trust that, through it, God’s strange wisdom would one day triumph.

So, whether you re-enact with others the walk to the execution hill or spend time alone today, may Jesus, who did not flinch from suffering, make you brave as you continue to walk his way.