Skydiving with Jesus: Thoughts on Good Friday

(This post has been recycled from the now defunct sister blog, TheBlurryandtheBeautiful)

When I was in college, there was a priest at our church named Father Jim Curran.  I used to love his homilies and would often call Mom after going to church just to reiterate what he had said.  One day, he spoke to us about how he went skydiving as a younger man.  He had gone with a group of friends and could still remember how he felt the terrifying, breath-taking, awe-inspiring moment he stood at the plane’s door, ready to jump…and he could still recall the relief and thrill of landing safely back on the earth.  Over the course of the next few weeks, he would listen to the friends who had jumped with him retelling their experience.  Sometimes, he would think to himself, “No…that’s really not how it felt.  It’s not exactly right.”  Other times he’d nod in agreement…”Yeah, that’s just about it.”  When he really wanted to return to those exact emotions, however, he turned to the videotape he had taken during his free fall.  And immediately, the fear and the thrill returned.  But it didn’t matter who watched the video or how vividly the experience was described.  The only people who truly understood what that day had been like were the boys that took that leap.

Father Curran segued from here into talking about the resurrection.  As much as we think of Good Friday as being…well…”good,” it wasn’t.  Back then, it was a depressing-end-of-the-road-what-have-we-sacrificed-the-last-three-years-for-question-mark experience.  And after Jesus died, what did the apostles do?  According to John and Luke, they locpeaceked themselves away in mourning and fear.  They huddled together because, having spent the past few years of their lives on this epic journey, they were the only ones who really understood how devastating this loss was.  When Jesus rose, He went into their midst.  His first recorded words to them after His resurrection were “Peace be with you.”  (John 20 and Luke 24)  Jesus didn’t come back flaunting His triumph over death.  The next forty days, this Man was pretty low-key.  Why?  Because one purpose of the resurrection was to give the apostles back the vitality and sense of peace they felt when they walked with Jesus; a vitality and peace that was shattered by the cross.  And after these emotions had been restored?  Well, it’s 2000 years later…and many of us still follow a religion the apostles spread for the rest of their lives.

Happy Good Friday, everyone.  May your Easter be blessed!

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