Caroline Noll, Associate Pastor and Pastor for Children and Families

When we lived in Houston, our church did the same church-wide Christmas pageant every year.

Technically, the music was different, but the middle school girls were always hoop angels and the high school girls were always horn angels, and the same adults were always the magi.

An exasperated kid blurted out, “Why do we tell the same story every year!”

Well, it’s a good story, an important story, and good stories are worth telling again and again.

But not everything is the same.

We are different, our world has changed since we last told the story, and so we encounter the story in a new way.

And so it is today with the narrative of Good Friday.

How many times have we journeyed with Jesus to dark Gethsemane?

Lord, light the darkened places in my soul. In my despair, help me believe and have hope.

How many times have we followed the disciples disappearing into the night, fading into the shadows, leaving Jesus alone with those who would do him harm?

Lord, in this night, in this valley, strengthen those who work in the light, who push back the shadows, who do good, heal, provide and sustain.

How many times have we witnessed the suffering of Christ?

Lord, so many are suffering with sickness. Lord, so many are suffering in fear, are fragile and vulnerable.

O Lord our God, may each one broken in body and spirit be surrounded and filled with your presence, your love, your tender care.

How many times have we heard Jesus’ last words and grasped at their humanity, their divinity?

O Lord, we are fumbling, stumbling, at one moment sure and the next moment lost and falling again.

Our attention turns inward and away in this midst of the greatest display of love.

Forgive us, we pray.

How many times have we watched the sky turn dark?

It is finished.

We are still. We are silent.

But we are not alone.

Because this story does not have a beginning, a middle, and an end.

This story continues, lives on, lives on with life abundant, transformed, made well, made new.

We tell the story, again and again, that we may encounter the living Christ in this day, in this time, in our world, in our homes, and in our very being.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.

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