March 30, 2018

Bare and Empty

March 30, 2018


John 18:1-19:42

This weekend’s reading: John 20:19-23

If you have ever been to a Maundy Thursday service at BUMC, you know that the service ends by the “stripping” of the Sanctuary. This involves removing everything in the room that is symbolic of our life in Christ. Plants, candles, the communion elements, the Bible, and the colored fabrics (paraments) that represent the seasons of the church calendar. The purple that represents not only represents the quiet reflection of the season of Lent we have been in but also represents the royalty of our king, is taken away in silence. Nothing remains except the image of the bare cross on the altar.
What we feel when we see all of our symbols for Jesus taken away is just a small taste of what it must have felt like to lose the person of Jesus.  Those who walked so closely with him did not yet know what would happen 3 days later. They were afraid, confused, and distraught that their teacher, brother, and friend was taken away. When the final nail was hammered in, the grief and trauma they must have felt are almost unimaginable. Followed by complete and utter emptiness at the loss of someone so dear to them.
On this side of the cross, we know that this grief doesn’t last and that joy will come in the morning. But that doesn’t lessen the bare and empty feelings we feel when our Jesus is taken away. Today, let yourself feel whatever grief is in your heart, knowing that God is grieving alongside you. Allow feelings of emptiness to wash over you, knowing that God will fill your heart.


  • Does Good Friday feel empty to you? Why or why not?
  • What are other feelings or memories are important to you on Good Friday?
  • What images/stories/scriptures have been meaningful for you during Holy Week this year?


  • What or who have you lost that is important to you? How did you feel?
  • Why do you think we call today “Good” Friday?

“Grieving God, on the cross your Son embraced death even as he had embraced life: faithfully and with good courage. Grant that we who have been born out of his wounded side may hold fast to our faith in him exalted and may find mercy in all times of need. Amen. “ (from Revised Common Lectionary Prayers).