Standing by God in a Time of Sorrow
Good Friday Reflection
Have you ever thought about “being there” for God? Have you ever considered God’s need to have us be there for Him? Have you ever thought about the one-way street we tend to use in our relationship with God? As I journey along through Holy Week and read through the scripture for Good Friday this Lent, I cannot help but to ponder these things. My mind is taken with the thought of God needing me in His time of great sorrow and anguish as I struggle with wondering if I would have been strong enough or brave enough to be there for Him.
As we read through the scripture and journey along with Christ during the final hours of his earthly life, we are reminded of our humanness: the betrayal of Judas, the three denials of Peter, the unforgiving crowds who would rather save a murderer, and the mockery of the Roman guards and officials. We can feel the turmoil, and we can hear the hurt that happens.
Yet in the background, there is a thread of hope. We see that three women and one disciple stood with him. They followed along and stayed as close as they could until his last breath and burial. Again, I am reminded of our humanness. I can feel the love wrapped around the tears. I can see the courage in the midst of the fear.
Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary Magdalene, Mary wife of Clopas and John were with him. When our God needed someone to be with Him during His time of great sorrow, they were there. They could not be torn away from their need to be present. They were willing to do what was needed to be there with Jesus until the very end.
And so it is with many of those whom I have met through United Methodist Women. They too have answered the call to be present during times of hardship, sorrow, loss, confusion, devastation, and fear in the lives of their neighbors. They answer the call to stand with God during the moments of trouble that plague women, children, youth and men the world over. When I think of the courage of those who stood with Christ on Good Friday and those who stand with the “least of these” each day of the year, I am overwhelmed by the grace of our Savior and the potential of humankind.
As we continue our journey this Lenten season from the cross of sacrifice and sorrow to the gift of resurrection and salvation, let us not lose hope. May we instead be inspired to not just stand up for Jesus but to stand up with him as we continue to meet the needs of those that he has put into our care.
May we aspire to be the lady disciples He designed us to be: servant leaders who strive to put our faith, hope and love into actions that emulate the grace, compassion and respect that God himself would receive from us. As we take in the truth of Good Friday, may we have the courage and the confidence to say, “Yes Lord, I will not leave you.”
Holy and gracious God, as we continue to journey through Holy Week, we admit that the things we cannot change overwhelm us. We are heavy-hearted over the pain we have caused others. We know that we are too often careless with our words and thoughtless in our actions. We come before you humbly and pray that you will help us to lift the burdens of our guilt as we strive to be the disciples you have called us to be. We thank you for loving and forgiving us as we attempt to serve you by loving and caring for our sisters and brothers in all that we say and do. Please help us to be lifted up by your strength and guided by your wisdom and grace as we willingly serve others in your name. Amen.
Carmen Faye-Sanford Vianese is a Women’s Division director from the Upper New York Conference.