The silence was thick. The clammy feel of cold death swirled, like a bad omen, around our heads. Everyone around me seemed hyper-aware… of what? No one breathed it seemed, even the babies were statuesque, as lights were extinguished, two by two, as a poor, plastered & painted up representation of Christ hung, forlorn & resigned, on the giant crucifix above our heads. We waited with bated breath for the gruesome murder, that defines us all, to finally happen, in this grand, cavernous Cathedral.

We were waiting for Jesus to submit to that final act of obedience, to feel our miserable weight press down on his already strained shoulders, for His separation from the Father that completes Him, to be abandoned, truly, agonizingly alone, to sip the sour wine & finally, let go of His spirit, the Holy Spirit, the last piece of the Trinity… to be “finished.”

I begged Jesus, pleaded with Him, to carry my sin, my pride, my envy, my lust, my idolatry, with Him, to have my wretched sin die with Him, all the while apologizing, knowing that each sin that I loaded on made Him suffer more. I can’t help it – help me! As I let out my last regrets in a burst, the last candle lighting the place was taken away. My thoughts were strewn, nothing more than a deepening, frenzied anticipation for what was inevitable… I’m not ready for this!

Suddenly, darkness, almost tangible shadows took over. No plastered, painted Savior to see. Cold, terrible death crawled over us, everywhere. Despair filled the nooks & crannies that weren’t already filled with our unsettling. After the lights went out it was purely quiet for just a moment, all of us alone in our grief.

The din that followed was deafening. I could not hear my own thumping on the pew, could not see it either, all I knew for ages was the collective shock, sorrow, & regret magnified by our noise, the only appropriate way we could communicate this horror. I don’t think I breathed the whole time, being buried by the outrageous sounds. In my mind I could only respond in expletives. The Cathedral erupted this way for a few minutes & it never slowed, never bated, only getting louder, adding, indefinitely, to the entropy of the universe… I vaguely wondered what we sounded like to the rest of downtown, to people strolling by. Would they realize that it was Good Friday? Would they understand our wailing?

Too quickly, the remaining candle was returned & we gradually ceased, a little reluctant to stop our lament. I stood motionless, letting the passionate mob file past, into the parking lot. I was overwhelmed with Truth, something beautiful but terrifying at the same time. This, I knew, was the pinnacle of my faith, of all that I hold dear & place my trust in. This mystery truly defines my life, second only to the mystery of His resurrection, but I can’t think if that now. Today is my time to grieve, to enunciate my solitude, to appreciate this ridiculous hole in my chest & to beg, relentlessly plead to be forgiven for the blood spilled because of my wickedness.

*Latin for “shadow” or “darkness”, the special service I attended this Good Friday.

P.S. I have re-read this a month later & feel I need to apologize for my high school creative writing prowess, though the contents & emotion therein are still mega relevant!

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