Old Testament: Lamentations 3:1-9, 19-33
Morning Psalms: Psalms 22
New Testament: 1 Peter 1:10-20
Gospel: John 13:36-38, 19:38-42
Evening Psalms: Psalms 40:1-14, 54
Nietzsche said, in a bold claim of nihilistic atheism: God is dead.
Today, that is true. Jesus is dead. His mission is over, and his corpse is placed in the closest tomb, to do what corpses do—cease to exist.
In today’s Gospel story, our Messiah, our God-made-Man, Jesus Christ, has been murdered. His followers have fled. Not a single disciple stayed to care for his burial. Instead, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus take care of his burial. This story stirs up doubt and the terror in me that comes with the great existential fear of, “If I die, will anyone care?”
When I was serving as a chaplain in a hospital, we had a young man come into the trauma center. He had been attacked at a family party, presumably by a family member. The young man was unresponsive at the scene, but needed to be brought to the hospital where he could be pronounced dead. As I waited with the officer who had arrived with the body, we received a phone call -- no one would be coming to identify or claim the body. I was shocked. Something deep within me cried out at this injustice, to die alone, your body unclaimed, family and friends rejecting you in death!
Yes, people die every day. Alone. This is part of being human. We are finite, decaying, all slowly marching to our existential zero.
However, Nietzsche got it wrong. God is not dead.
And in two days, we are going to be surprised at how even death itself is not strong enough to overcome our God. And, because of our God, no one ever really dies alone.
On this Good Friday, remember that we have a hope. A hope that looks death in the face and says, “You have no power left.” A hope that says that even in the darkest of human moments, even when hope seems lost, we have a God who has been there, who has done that, who has come out on the other side. We have a God whose love has conquered even His own death.