I always dread Good Friday services. Somehow, it feels odd to me to gather as a community on such a lonely day. And, after years spent as a Presbyterian, I've never been comfortable with kissing the cross. I can't even bring myself to wear one.
Now, with coronavirus and its attending angel of death passing over us, I'm at peace with my solitary Good Friday. To be sure, there are services online. And there are moving photographs of Pope Francis marking the way of the cross in a mostly deserted Vatican square.
But I took a walk alone through my mostly deserted neighborhood, reflecting on how lonely the family, friends and followers of Jesus must have felt on the day they saw him die. And I remembered an interview I read earlier this week with the pope for Commenweal titled A Time of Great Uncertainty. It's a good piece to read during Holy Week.
So, today, on Good Friday, I am carrying two of his thoughts with me:
First, that we all live next door to saints -- doctors, nurses, clergy, first responders, grocery clerks, shelf stackers, pharmacists, delivery people, mail carriers, and on and on.
And this quotation from Francis, which includes a line from one of his favorite novels, The Betrothed by Allesandro Manzoni: "'The Lord does not leave his miracles half-finished.' If we become aware of this miracle of the next-door saints, if we can follow their tracks, the miracle will end well, for the good of all. God doesn’t leave things halfway. We are the ones who do that."
Unlike those people who first followed Jesus, we know Easter is coming.