Good Friday, Good Question
“I am poured out like water, my heart is melted within my breast; my tongue sticks to my jaws. My hands and feet have shriveled; I can count all my bones.”
—Psalm 22:14–17 (NRSV, abridged)
MARY LUTI | Doug Davidson tells a story about the time he took his three-year-old with him to return a book to the seminary library. The child had never been inside before. As he toddled into the vestibule, he stopped in his tracks. Before them hung an almost life- size crucifix.
He watched his son’s eyes fix on Jesus’ twisted body, bleeding hands and feet. The boy had never seen such an image. In their Baptist church, the cross was empty, its Jesus risen and ascended.
For a moment, Davidson considered hustling the boy away to shield him from that violence, like he did when he “re-wrote” the plots of Batman comics. But it was too late.
I thought he might cry, he said later. Instead, without taking his gaze from the dying Jesus, the child whispered a question full of sadness: Daddy, what happened?
Maybe you’re accustomed to empty crosses, too. It’s almost a point of pride with some Protestants not to exhibit Jesus’ bloody crucifixion, but to focus instead on the resurrection. And that’s a good thing.
But empty crosses can also be evasive, shielding us from facing the violence human beings inflict on each other all the time. Which is one reason the church gives us Good Friday. It’s a day to stare our complicity in the face as it plays out on the very body of God.
What if today we don’t hustle ourselves away? What if we just stop in our tracks and gaze? What if we just stay put, take it all in, the pain, the horror, the confusion. What if we ask, and really want to know...
PRAYER O my God. What happened?About the Writer:
MARY LUTI is a long-time seminary educator and the author of Teresa of Avila’s Way and numerous articles on the practice of the Christian life.

Source: “Running from Empty” | 2023 Lent Devotional by the Stillspeaking Writers’ Group, made up of United Church of Christ ministers and writers who collaborate on resources for people in the church, outside the church, and not sure about the church.