It is Good Friday Morning. We are gathered in the Cathedral and at the foot of the cross. Before us, beside the cross, are the instruments of the passion, dice, hammer, nails, spear and crown of thorns. People are sitting on the floor, kneeling or standing.
Amidst our devotions a small two boy pushes his way through to the front. He gazes at the cross and starts to approach it then turns and looks at all the people gathered around. His gaze moves between cross and crowd uncertain which is the more curious. His mother looks on anxiously wondering if or when to intervene; her fear that in this solemn moment he will do something inappropriate. The reverse in fact is the case for he has now become integral to the scene.
At two years of age he is the picture of innocence. He does not understand the significance of cross and spear nor does he understand why the people have gathered around this strange scene. For him it is just a matter of curiosity but unknowingly he has become part of the tragedy. Despite the best efforts of his parents and of this community, this little boy will grow up and discover a world where people hurt and hate, where cruelty can too easily be inflicted on another human being. There will be no escaping the darker side of life. This much is certain, his innocence will be crushed. There will be no protecting him from harsher realities. Good Friday reminds us of what humanity is capable of; even God’s own dear Son cannot escape that truth.
At two years of age, unknowingly he is part of the tragedy of the scene but he is also part of its fragile hope. This strange object he is looking at, and which has drawn this crowd, is also the symbol of hope, and of love, that we gathered in this crowd pray he will also discover. As yet, most likely, he has no concept of being beloved of God yet the hope is that he will grow up discovering that truth. With the best efforts of his parents and this community, it is to be hoped he will be drawn into faith and to an understanding of the significance of this scene and why this day can be called Good Friday. There is nothing certain about passing on faith; it is at best a parental, and this community’s, ambition.
But all that lies in the future. Right now he is just two years of age and very curious and for we who are gathered his presence only serves to sharpen the significance of this day, its horror and its hope, the collision of love and hate, of innocence and corruption
Perhaps in his curiosity he will also wander into the Easter Garden and one day spot the footprints in the dew and discover that it is love not death which has the final word.