Two major events have occurred almost simultaneously over the past week. Thousands have been injured or died in Nepal as the result of earthquakes and in Baltimore, thousands have risen in protest against a police force that can take a black man into custody and then mysteriously sever his spine and cause his death. In the midst of questions surrounding the senseless deaths of people of color, one can only wonder where Christ is in the midst of all this.
These events can only be seen as crucifixion events, Good Fridays, in my mind. This does not make the victims Christ, but rather is a recognition that Christ is in these events alongside those who suffer, suffering with them. When Freddie Gray died, when countless other individuals died under suspicious circumstances at the hands of the authorities that were supposed to protect them, Christ was alongside them, crucified. When natural disaster occur and death tolls rise, Christ is alongside them, crucified.
But we know that crucifixion does not have the last say. We know that after the destruction and the horror, after the senseless death and betrayal of trust, after the crucifixion and death of even a Savior, life can be reborn. Resurrection can come. Things can be made new.
But what does that look like? How can we find it in the events of this week? What does it mean to believe in the power of Easter today?
I believe it means learning how to mourn and grieve as a worldwide community. It means mourning humans who were lost when structures collapsed. These structures are both literal buildings and structures of government that were supposed to protect and serve. It means allowing a space for profound grieving, a space where we can feel the full weight of loss. We often want to leave Good Friday and dive directly into Easter, but we all need space for mourning and grief. Jesus didn't rise the next day, and we need not jump immediately to rebuilding and renewal. Sometimes we just need time to cry. Funerals and protests, burials and responses to loss are part of what it means to be an Easter people.
I believe it means looking through and beyond looting and riots. It means looking at the underlying reasons for protest and working for just resolution. It means rebuilding structures in a way that provides strength against the forces of nature and providing aid to those who feel the deepest loss. Governments can change. Accountability can happen. Nations can be strengthened. Grief can be transformed into renewal of spirit. It is not easy. In fact, it's completely unnatural. Without God, without a Savior that has overcome death, we could never overcome these losses. But we have a force that is stronger than anything that the world could throw its way. It is the force of divine love working to transform all things, a force that can face death and resurrect life.
As we mourn, as we protest, let us also lift up our voices to the God who has resurrection power. For through God, our Good Fridays can become Easters.