Good Friday

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It is 5:00. The centurion who was in charge of the crucifixion comes up the hill and stares at the three men.

He motions to the soldiers nearby who hurry over. After conferring with him they run back near the crosses where mallets lay.

Together they break the legs of one of the thieves, who screams in agony. The centurion stares at Jesus, takes a spear from another soldier and thrusts it into Jesus side. Thin, watery blood pours out. He had been dead for a while.

The soldiers move to the next thief and break his legs. As the man screams, the centurion turns and walks back towards Jerusalem, passing near where John and the women watch from a distance. He bows his head at their grief.

Good Friday

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It is now 4:35. John is the first to say it. Everyone has known for a while, but they still had hope that something, anything would happen. Did he not heal others?

“Jesus is dead,” he whispers.

The women weep, their tears now quiet as they are overwhelmed with the grief. Joseph of Arimathea leaves the hill and walks back into the city. Some of the pharisees who had stayed as witnesses follow him.

Good Friday

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It is 3:00 in the afternoon, the sky is dark, the wind is blowing wild over the hills.

Jesus hangs on the cross, without expression, limp.

Suddenly, he tilts back his head, his body is wracked with pain. His eyes open wide, seeming to burst out.

He screams, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?!” (My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?!”)

People run over, one with sour wine, hoping to help him, not caring about the Romans.
There is pandemonium in the Temple, the curtain covering the Holy of holies has ripped.

His body tenses, he twists in agony. Then he stills, his body collapses, pulling on the nails in his wrists. He breathes heavy for a moment, then calms. The wind gusts, and stops.

“It is finished,” he whispers.

He lifts his head, looks around, and shouts, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!”
His shoulders lift with a deep breath, then fall, not moving anymore. The wind picks up.

The Centurion in charge restores some order to the crowd, then says, “Surely this man was the son of God.”

The sacrifice has been made. Jesus is dead.

Good Friday

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It is now 2:00 in the afternoon.

The day is dark, stormy, the wind blows heavy. Most of the mockers have left. Mary stands before her son.

Jesus sees his mother standing there, along with Mary, Clopas’ wife, and Mary Magdalene. John is with them as well.

He speaks, his voice shaky and weak, “Woman, he is your son.”

She cries.

He turns and looks at John, “She is your mother.”

John nods. Women continue to weep.

Good Friday

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It is noon, and it is very dark out. The sun is gone, clouds are thick, the wind blows.

Good Friday

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It is 11:30.

One of the Romans pulls out some dice. They start playing a game, gambling.

A thin, tall soldier wins the best prize, Jesus’ nice clothes. They figure Jesus won’t be needing them anymore.

Good Friday

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It is 11:25.

One of the criminals hanging beside Jesus turns to him, and scoffs, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself–and us, too, while you’re at it!”

The other criminal responds, “Don’t you fear God even when you are dying? We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.”

There is silence for a moment.

Then he says, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

Jesus looks at him and says, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The clouds grow thick, the day looks like it is getting darker.

Good Friday spirituality

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Dualravens offers a special Good Friday Spiritual Life for your liturgical benefit

Kojak

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Admit it, the show is enticing. It comes on and grabs one’s attention, leaving an indelible mark of undefinable cool.

“Beware the Ides of March, baby,” Kojak once said, the quote sticking in my mind for years now.

It’s the nonchalant gravitas I think. Maybe it’s the hardened whimsy instead or the reality of living on the line but staying firmly on the side of right. Is it the earnestness without the innocence, a rare combination found only in our most grizzled champions? Definitely it’s that same appeal that we find in Wyatt Earp or Robin Hood or any of the other semi-vigilante heroes.

Telly Savalas is irreplacable in the role to be sure. He was Kojak, cool because of his approach and demeanor, not because of any outward charm or attractiveness. Yet… Ving Rhames is intriguing as a new version. He’s totally different… but seems to carry that same essential character. And apparently, in the new version Kojak, like Rhames, is a devout Christian. Might we have a new poster boy to replace Bono as the height of Christian chic?

Interesting. Just when I thought television had left my interests completely.

Good Friday

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It is 10:30 am.The leading priests, the teachers of the religious law, and other leaders (the men who arrested and condemned Jesus) come wandering up the hill, making sure their work is finished.

“He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the king of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross, and we will believe in him! He trusted God–let God show his approval by delivering him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God’”

Jesus stared at them from the cross, his wounds bleeding, his strength leaving.

Clouds appear over the hills, on the western horizon.