On This Day
Fr. John A. Roop
ADOTS Good Friday Liturgy: 10 April 2020
(John 18:1 – 19:37)
Let us pray.
Both here and in all your churches throughout the whole world, we adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your holy cross, you have redeemed the world. Amen.
I STAND BEFORE CALVARY and the cross today much as Abraham Lincoln stood before Gettysburg, only infinitely more so: called upon to speak but knowing full well that no words are adequate and perhaps none are necessary. “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence,” comes to mind. For no words can hallow the sacrifice of this one man — betrayed, denied, forsaken and crucified. It is his sacrifice that hallows all things, these feeble, frail, and foolish words of mine included. But, speak we must. The day, our hearts — and pray God, the Spirit — compel us.
On this day, Adam dies — Adam and all his sons and daughters — as the LORD God had commanded the man saying:
You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die (Gen 2:16-17, ESV throughout).
On this day Abel is slain at the hands of his brother, and his blood cries out to God from the ground.
On this day the fountains of the great deep burst forth and the windows of heaven open and the waters prevail and every living thing on the face of the ground is blotted out.
On this day sulfur and fire fall from heaven to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain.
On this day Isaac is bound on the altar and no angel stays Abraham’s hand as the knife falls and the son — the only son of the father — is slain.
On this day Joseph is betrayed and sold by his own brothers.
On this day there rises a new king over Egypt — one who does not know Joseph — one who sets harsh taskmasters over the children of Israel to afflict them with heavy burdens.
On this day the first, the last, and every Passover lamb is slaughtered, and yet the death angel comes: not to the firstborn sons of Egypt only, but to Israel and to the world.
On this day every death ever died, dies in the person of one man betrayed, denied, forsaken and crucified.
On this day every sin ever committed — every bending of the heart and knee before every idol, every act of hatred and murder, every lustful thought and secret adultery, every theft, every lie, every act of faithlessness and cowardice — every sin ever committed is borne in the person of one man betrayed, denied, forsaken and crucified.
On this day every prayer ever offered, every lament ever wailed, every hope ever held out against hope is heard and answered by one man betrayed, denied, forsaken and crucified.
On this day the history of the world reaches its climax and the fate of the world hangs in the balance as the righteousness, the covenant faithfulness of God, is revealed for all to see — in heaven and on earth and under the earth — in the person of one man betrayed, denied, forsaken and crucified.
On this day, the Lamb of God slain from the foundations of the world, spreads out his arms of love on the hard wood of the cross that everyone might come within the reach of his saving embrace: one man betrayed, denied, forsaken and crucified.
On this day God destroys the wisdom of the wise and the discernment of the discerning, for in the folly of the cross the wisdom and power of God are revealed: one man betrayed, denied, forsaken and crucified (cf 1 Cor 1:166 ff).
We are not ashamed of this Gospel — of the paradox and mystery of one man betrayed, denied, forsaken and crucified — for it is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith” (cf Rom 1:16-17)
And so, on this day we proclaim Christ and him crucified — stumbling block and folly, yes — on this day and always we proclaim Christ and him crucified, for Calvary is the center of the world, the cross is the fulcrum of redemption, and Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world; who with the Father and the Holy Spirit is worshipped and glorified, one God, unto the ages of ages. Amen.