Holy Week 2021: Good Friday

8am Good morning! It’s a nice, sunny day here which is good because my family are coming over for fish and chips in the garden.

For now, I’m going to get up, shower and make hot cross buns. The day isn’t going to be too busy, so I’m baking! Last year, some friends posted a recipe for hot cross buns using simple ingredients that most people have in their cupboard, with no need for yeast, eggs or butter. This time last year, baking ingredients were in short supply, so I gave them a try. They came out nice and I’m going to use the same method this year. Here is the link.

10.30am Well, they might not be the prettiest things in the world, but they sure taste nice! Just time to eat a couple, with a good layer of butter, before doing some admin and preparing for our guests to come for lunch.

12.30pm Here is the link to the reflection for today: https://youtu.be/o1v3e-txnIg It’s a bit longer than the others to mark the significance of Good Friday.

3.45pm I’m sure there will be many future Easters when I spend Good Friday afternoon a very busy bee, but today, we’re sat in the garden, enjoying fish and chips, talking about Easter while the dog runs across the lawn. We haven’t seen each other since December (when we met in a McDonald’s carpark to exchange Christmas presents) and before that it was September. It’s been lovely and I have cherished every second.

Mum & Isabelle on our new swing

6.32pm After Nathan and I waved goodbye to Mum, Dad and Isabelle, we came inside, tidied up and sat together watching the St Giles Stations of the Cross service. Last Greenbelt (2019), we treated ourselves to a book with liturgy and prayers in it called Spring by Ruth Burgess. It has got all kinds of useful and beautiful stuff in it. I based my reflections last night around some of the writing and Nathan did the same for his service. It was a great buy!

Thinking about the services today, I am once again struck by the selflessness of Jesus. Not just in dying, but by forgiving in the process. I like to think I know myself well, and if that were me, forgiveness would be the last thing on my mind. Just like if I was arrested, healing somebody’s ear would be the last thing on my mind.

A few weeks ago, I got a Facebook friend request that made my blood run cold. It was from somebody who helped to cause considerable harm some time ago. I only met them once snd I don’t even remember. The friend request has been haunting me and eating me up inside, even though I reckon it’s a case of that person not knowing how to use Facebook and sending the request by accident! It’s not actually my story, it shouldn’t be my pain. But the name, just the sight of it, unlocked all kinds of things and I spent a fair few days being really grumpy and defensive.

But as the weeks went on and I thought about it, I’ve felt a qentle question as I’ve struggled to sleep. ‘Poppy, can you forgive?’. Not an instruction, just a question. I don’t know how Jesus hung there in agony, and asked for forgiveness for the politicians, the religious leaders, the mockers, the soldiers, the people who hammered the nails in, the person who pushed the thorns deeper into his head. I don’t know how he did it. It leaves me speechless and I know how poor and inadequate I am. Because I have struggled to say ‘yes’ to that question.

I am not capable of suffering much and asking God to forgive. I am not very good at forgiving. But Jesus clearly was. So I choose to leave this name and situation with him. I scrape it off the walls of my heart, pack it away in a tub and walk to the cross. As he hangs there, I say ‘I’m sorry’. I say ‘thank you’. And with his help, I choose to forgive.

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