Good Friday 2020 - Women with Him: A Feminist Celebration of Easter

Friday, April 10, 2020


"Lullaby" was born
from the Latin word "lullare"--
it means "sing to sleep."
As Jesus hung
the women sung
the old hymns of grief.

As Jesus slept
the women wept.
With the reverence of midwives
they delivered him 
to the tomb.

The sheets they pulled to his face
and gently folded under his head.
With his toes completely covered
to keep the cold away; and 
kisses laced with herbs and tears
they placed their friend

in the arms
of His mother.


As I prepared today's offering, I very much wanted to make Good Friday all better. I wanted to clean up the blood and salve the wounds this day is set apart to honor, to smooth it over and wrap it in a clean white cloth. I wanted to tuck it away--gently, tenderly--but tuck it away all the same. But it is not Easter yet. We need today. I need today. While I recognize my deep and vulnerable need for a God who weeps, a god who bleeds, and ultimately a god of death, I am afraid to look up at the cross.

In the garden of Gethsemane, before taking on the full weight of the atonement, Jesus says, "Father, take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt." My mind hears one thing, but my heart hears another. At first, I think I hear Jesus saying, "Father, this is hard, but I don't want to be a disappointment so I will stick to the original plan." But when I listen, when I really listen to this verse, I hear Jesus say, "Dad, I'm afraid."

A Christ who is resolute, heroic, and certain on a day like Good Friday asks nothing of me. This Christ tells me that my problems will be solves, that they are nothing but a few drops of blood. He'll take care of it, that everything will be fine--don't worry about it! But a Jesus who is afraid? He asks me to do something so simple; something so impossible. He asks me to look, to see, and stay with him. He asks me to hold his hand in the dark.

What if Jesus, dressed in a crown of thorns and a purple cloth, was human too, just for a moment? What if Jesus, instead of a self-assured Prince of Peace or a confident Lord of miracles, was instead, just this once, the Mediator of doubt? We know Easter is in two days, but he did not - not yet. This is still Friday. Stay with me. What if, on the walk to the cross, Christ looked over the cliff edge of death and saw what we all see- mists of uncertainty and a chasm of fear? What if, as he hung on the cross he prophetically saw the looming dark loneliness of a tomb? In those moments, wouldn't you tremble? Wouldn't you ask for a drink of water to soothe your dread-parched throat? Wouldn't you want to look around and see the faced of the people you loved? Wouldn't you want a hand to hold?

The women with him did just that.


Once, when my daughter was in her Sunbeams class, her teacher came rushing into the Relief Society room to get me. "She says she feels like she's gonna throw up," her teacher said. I hurried into her class where I saw her, ashen-pale faced and slightly swaying. I took her home, and not until later that night did I understand why she had fallen suddenly ill. "Mom, today I saw a picture of Jesus. He was dead." She started crying--no, openly weeping. Sitting before me, this little girl who had just lost her very best friend laid her tender and innocent grief before me, as if to say, "What do I do with this, mom?" I humbly admit to you that in that moment I could not meet her in her grief. I was afraid to witness her pain. I was afraid to see. I tried to band-aid the whole thing with the Resurrection.

Friends, if I could go back, I would do things differently. I would teach her how to pick lavender flowers from a field and weave them into the hair of her friend. I would not wipe away her tears as she held a hand that could not hold hers back. And when the time was just right, when her eyes were swollen and her head was pounding, I would teach her how to swaddle grief. To lay it gently in the arms of the Great Mother who holds the overflow of the world, of my heart. I have learned my lesson. Today is still Friday. Stay with me. We are the women with him.
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