shadow: a shaded or darker portion of a picture
‘The story of Jesus is full of darkness as well as of light. It is a story that hides more than it reveals. It is the story of a mystery we must never assume we understand and that comes to us breathless and broken with unspeakable beauty at the heart of it yet by no means a pretty story.’ ~ Frederick Buechner, ‘The Two Stories,’ A Room Called Remember p 51
We call it Good Friday, this darkest day in the history of the church. We don’t understand. We, like the disciples, are so often sleepy, bewildered, unable to grasp the significance of what is happening. We’d prefer to avert our eyes, to fast –forward from the triumphal entry of Palm Sunday right on to the triumphal resurrection of Easter.
But this is the story as it happened. These dark hours are the hinge-pin upon which all that went before and all that comes after turns. The shadows cannot be skirted; they must be walked through.
‘When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, ’I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.’ Matthew 26:20-21
‘Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death.’ Matthew 27:1
‘From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtani?’ – which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ Matthew 27:45-46
‘And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.’ Matthew 27:50