Good Friday: Rev. James Mc Allister (Deacon)
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From Living Church Down and Connor
Today is Good Friday; the day we remember through our prayer, through our quiet reflection, through our fast, through our liturgy. The day the Son of God died for us in order that we might be saved, saved to claim our inheritance as heirs to the Kingdom promised. Having been raised by parents of great and yet humble and simple faith, today is a day that I have always ring-fenced as a day of prayer, remorse and repentance. Always a day to set time aside for God because He allowed his Son to die for me and that is what today is about.
A lasting memory I have of this day was Good Friday 1998. I, as with many people in Northern Ireland, sat fixed to our TV screens from morning through lunchtime and into the afternoon waiting for the final completion of the peace talks that had been taking place at Stormont. As time marched on and 3pm approached, I had a decision to make; to remain glued to the tv or go to the parish church where I live in Bangor to celebrate the Good Friday Passion of the Lord. I had to prioritise. I left the house at 2:45 and ran to the chapel. To my surprise and I suppose to my relief, when I arrived there, standing in the side isle was An Taoisheach Bertie Adhern. The right decision was made. The priority was in order for me and for An Taoisheach and the country would have to wait because of Bertie’s decision to put God first.
I realised, that day, that a momentous and historical occasion such as the signing of the Belfast Agreement was nothing compared to the real event that we were marking by our presence as a faith community gathered to mark Christ’s death on the cross. Perhaps that day every one of us was bringing to the cross all the pain and suffering that had been endured in the history of our country. Perhaps we were all reaching out in hope to a God whom we knew loved us so much that “he gave his only Son” to bring us healing and peace.
Christ continues to hang on the cross for us all. He hangs on the cross for the children who die of hunger in our world every minute of every day; He hangs on the cross for all who are wounded, maimed or damaged psychologically due to the wars and conflicts in our world. He hangs on the cross for the marginalised in our society, marginalised because of their colour, creed, race or sexual orientation. He hangs on the cross for all who are suffering throughout this pandemic, for all who are bereaved, for the lonely and depressed, for the prisoner and his or her family, for the sick and the dying. He hangs on the cross for you and for me. When we make the sign of the cross today, let us bring to mind all for whom he hung on the cross in the greatest act of love ever. And he did that for you and for me. +In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
For what will you pray today as you make the Sign of the Cross?