Good Friday 2014 “I am the one for whom you are looking.”

“I am he,” Jesus says. “I am he.”

I am the one for whom you are looking.

It is not hard to understand that we are looking for this same Jesus today: not the one who the authorities accused of blasphemy, but the one who will never leave us, the one who cries out:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

A Malaysian plane has disappeared from the earth, so far, without a trace.
We see nothing, and we do not understand.

One year ago, two brothers set off bombs at the Boston marathon, killing three and maiming many others.
We see pools of blood, limbs torn off, the broken carrying those broken even more. We do not understand.

In Kansas this week, three people are dead after a shooting spree in and around a Jewish community center: a woman; a grandfather, and his Eagle Scout grandson.
We see the accused shoved into a police car while he shouts: “Heil, Hitler!” We cannot understand such hate.

There is the Pittsburgh area “stabbing rampage” in a high school. We see the news and think: “not again.” We see our own children going to school, and wonder … and we do not understand.

Far too many of us know the depths of Jesus’ cry:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Your priest does not have the answer to the “why” of these tragedies. Nor does your bishop, nor anyone living on earth. Violence, tragedy, horrific actions are part of a broken world, our broken humanity. “Why” is not answered with a reason, but with a “whom.”

Whom do you seek? “I am he,” said Jesus. “I am he,” says Jesus today.

We are broken in body, in spirit, and by the world around us. We are broken in our very own ways, some visible and some not so visible. Sometimes, we run away from Jesus. A friend writes: “I broke up with Jesus today,” and later, “we’re making up, but it’s pretty tentative.” “Good,” I reply. “You two have been having quite the struggle.” “Yeah,” she says, “but mostly I’m the one who’s running.”

We are the ones who run; sometimes for good reason. I run from watching too much news; the tragedy is more than I can bear. We don’t have to go looking for tragedy, do we? We are afraid that Jesus has left us, in much the same way that we left him in the garden.

I assure you that Jesus has not left us. Jesus is embodied in the arms of those who carry the injured and the dead. Jesus is redeeming those who can stand up and say “we’re strong,” we’re “Boston strong.” The photographer from the Boston marathon documents not just blood, but new limbs and first steps and the triumph of life overcoming evil.

We don’t know where Jesus is in the heads and hands and minds of those who perpetrate evil. We do know that Jesus knew who was going to betray him, who was going to deny him, and that Jesus broke bread with them anyway. The “Heil Hitler” man and the teenager and those with murder in our hearts will have to work that out with God, not with me. And so we give thanks for Jesus.

Jesus is the one for whom we are looking. His broken body wraps around all of us, no matter how many times we break up with him. Jesus takes every part of us, whole and broken, sad, joyful, wondering, distraught. He looks at us from his cross, comes down from the cross and will be with us again.

Today is Good Friday. We think on this cross, on the bare wood, by which and through which we are loved completely.

Jesus says: “I am the one for whom you are looking.”

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