Summary: A sermon that marvels at the human capacity to ignore all that God did on Good Friday.
Some years ago I read a play written in England.
I can’t trace it but it went something like this.
It was set in London and the setting was that there had been an Atom Bomb dropped on London.
It was probably written in the 1960’s.
The scene was at the Jones -
When the curtain rises the scene is something like this -
There is plaster hanging from the ceiling - Mr and Mrs Jones are sitting in their armchairs - Mr Jones is reading the Times - Mrs Jones is knitting - Annabel the daughter is pouring a cup of tea.
Mr Jones: - (Reading the Times.) I say British Steel has dropped
Mrs Jones - How Terrible - I blame the Japanese of course - what they are doing making steel heaven only knows I thought they only grew rice and made funny little plastic Motor cars.
Annabel: - Mother Father don’t you think you should look out the window half of London has vanished - even Harrod’s
MrsJones: No no dear not Harrods those Russians would never dare bomb Harrods - No class you know - they may bomb Boots the chemist or someone like that but certainly not Harrods.
Annabel - (Even more hystyrical.) But but it’s terrible there are people walking around all over the place disfigurred - I saw a man go by with his nose gone.
MrJones- Of course there have always been lots of disfigured people about dear - a certain Mr Tuttle I know of very low repute had a tatoo on - well never mind where - but a most unpleasant thing.. Can I have two lumps of sugar dear.
Annabel - Yes Daddy and you Mummy?
Mrs Smith: Two lumps and do take that frown off your face - there’s a good girl.
Annabel: But Mummy doesn’t it bother you that Wesminster Abbey is now a huge hole in the ground?
Mrs Jones Not at all dear it was just a place for American Tourists - hardly anyone goes there now and I prefer the little chapel just down Clyde street.
Mr Jones. Thank-you Annabel - Now how about you run upstairs and tell Grand-ma to come down for a nice cup of tea.
Annabel - (Bursting into tears.) But Daddy there’s no upstairs and Grandma hasn’t come down yet.
She runs off.
Mr Jones. (Standing.) You know I think I’ll turn in.
Mrs Jones. (Following) Me too.
This play pictures a family holding on to what was normal before when everything around them had changed.
When Jesus died - some spectacular things happened on that day apart from his crucifixion on the cross.
This morning I would like to aquaint you with some of these
The first thing is found in verse 45 of Matthew chapter 27 From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus called out in a loud voice, "Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani?
Which means, "My God, my God why have you forsaken me?"
This is an incredible verse:-
For three hours - from 12 O’clock midday until three O’clock in the afternoon the land fell into absolute darkness.
You can ignore all manner of things if they don’t impact on your life.
It is said that people in Nazi Germany ignored the fact that Jews were being systematically slaughtered in their midst.
When rows of prisoners were marched past them they simply looked the other way.
But in Jesus’ case there could be no looking the other way the whole of Jerusalem was plunged into darkness - an utter impossibility without God.
The woman purchasing her weekly bread at the market would have to stumble her way home.
The Pharisees and scribes preparing for their passover celebrations would be crippled in their preparations until the eiree light of lamps flickering in the middle of the day would be a constant reminder of the Greater passover that was happening in their very midst.
The disinterested and the busybodies - the jeering crowds and the Roman soldiers were all bought a sharp and shocking lesson as the light disappeared - This man who was crucified who had healed their sick and given sight to their blind - this man who had fed their thousands and walked in their streets was who he said he was - God himself in their midst and now he hung dying on a cross guarded by fearsome Roman soldiers just out of Jerusalem.
And so time slowly passed - Jesus hanging in his dark agony -
The unnatural position made every movement painful; the lacerated veins and crushed tendons throbbed with incessant anguish; the wounds inflamed by exposure, gradually gangerened; the arteries - especially at the head and stomach - became swollen and oppreased with surcharged blood; and while each variety of misery went on gradually increasing, there was added to them the intolerable pang of a burrning and raging thirst; and all these physical complications caused an internal excitement and anxiety, which made the prospect of death itself - of death the unknown enemy, at whose approach man usually shudders most - bear the aspect of a delicious and exquisite release.