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Feather's Miscellany: Good Friday

"Somewhere in the events which surround Good Friday is the answer to the mystery of pain,'' writes John Waddington-Feather.

Somewhere in the events which surround Good Friday is the answer to the mystery of pain. How could a merciful and compassionate God allow His Son to suffer the mental torture of knowing he was going to die a cruel death, and at the same time wondering if his lifeís work and mission had all been in vain?

Worse still, how could a loving God stand by and watch His Son die an agonising death? More than that, how can an all-powerful God allow pain and suffering in a world He created? It is a mystery, an embarrassing mystery to Christians trying to explain their God to non-believers, for there is no glib explanation. Only those who suffer come nearest to being able to explain why; why they still believe in and have faith in God. Mere theology has no answers.

From the very beginning of life we experience pain, when we enter a beautiful but imperfect world. Pain is part of our growing up, and our awareness of pain increases with age. Our battle throughout life as Christians is not letting pain and illness blight our own lives and our relationship with others; not letting pain and illness dominate all our thinking and conversation. To give in to pain is to let it take over our whole being: mind and spirit as well as body. If we do that, we enter a downward spiral in which our whole life becomes focussed on pain and illness.

Of course, we mustnít hide our heads in the sand and pretend pain isnít there, as some would have us do. And we certainly donít ignore the sufferings of others. As Christians, it is part of our ministry to help the sick through medicine and prayer; at the same time being aware of and confessing to God our sins, for sin affects mind, body and spirit. People who donít admit to sin end up as tyrants. Sin would destroy us but for Christís sacrificial suffering on the Cross.

It is Christ crucified who saves us from our sins and it is the same Christ who is near us in times of pain. If we are to make any sense of pain, the answer as I said earlier, lies in the events of Good Friday: the betrayal, the trial, the scourging, the humiliation, and finally the crucifixion. In those events God Himself was present and in the midst of all our pain He is there, too, identifying with us just as He identified with His Son at Calvary. And just as there was a glorious outcome of Christís pain, so there will be of ours when we share with Christ in his Resurrection.

John Waddington-Feather ©


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