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A Good Friday Prayer and Exercise

There are seven things that the Lord hates and will not tolerate: a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that kill innocent people, a mind that thinks up wicked plans, feet that hurry to do evil, a witness who tells one lie after another, and a man who stirs up trouble among friends.

God hates those behaviors which disrupt community. As God looked down on that Maundy Thursday/Good Friday scene God must have hated much of what he saw; Judas’ proud look, Peter’s lying tongue, the hands that caused Jesus’ death, the minds that thought it all up, the feet that ran to make it so, the witnesses who spoke other than truth and stirred up trouble of all sorts.

Yet, we know that Peter was forgiven, the Centurion at the foot of the cross came to a new understanding of Jesus and those like Paul, who may have been a part of the Pharisee’s plot ultimately turned toward Jesus. Those behaviors which God hates does not stop God from yet loving those who enact the behaviors. No one is too far from God. No one is beyond the reach or the love of God. And that is good news.

Prayer: Oh God, on this night when we see the power of hate unleashed, we are grateful that your love is stronger than hate and that in your divine time, the last word will be yours.

Practice: Good Friday is a difficult night. The darkness seems to crowd around us. And here we need the power of grammar. Whenever you read the word “but” its role is to refute what came before it in favor of elevating as more true what follows it. And so tonight we use this powerful conjunction to say, They have crucified our Lord, BUT . . .