The Words of Good Friday

Insights on Jesus' last moments on the cross
From Barbara Brown Taylor

Cross at sunset

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Today is the quietest day of the church year. On no other day do we sit together for so long with so little to say to one another, like family members gathered around the bed of the Beloved, who is dying.…Who named this Friday Good?

Father, forgive them
His concern is not for himself, at that point, but for those who are killing him. They do not know what they are doing, he explains to God, and people who don't know what they are doing should not be held accountable. Jesus wants God to know that he has no case against them. Jesus wants all charges dropped, only who are they exactly?

Father, into your hands I commend my spirit
By commending himself to the God whose enemy they said he was, he redefined what was happening to him. He gave away what they thought they were taking away from him, and the whole scene lost its balance.

Woman, here is your son
While the principalities and powers believe they are tearing his family apart, Jesus is quietly putting it together again: this mother with this son, this past with this future.

It is finished
That is one of those pungent, final-sounding sentences we have heard so often that we actually think we know what it means, but the third person, impersonal pronoun remains problematic. Why use a word like that unless you want to leave a little mystery around what it really is? It is finished, but what is it, exactly?