And so we come to Friday.
That same youth group I started out the week sharing about took a road trip one Good Friday to some other small town in Kentucky where some other church put on a Passion type play.
It was done outside and our handful of teens and youth leaders stood amongst total strangers gathered along the street and sidewalk outside the church.
I don’t think the acting was noteworthy and I am pretty certain we may have acted squirrely and silly and having, now these many years later, worn the tennis shoes of a parent and youth leader of teens myself, I can well imagine our sponsors asking God why they had left their kids with sitters and driven us across the county to just embarrass them here on this cold sidewalk.
But for this immature teen at least, the night took a turn that echoes deep in me still after so many decades.
Because as we half listened and half socialized, they came to the trial part and unbeknownst to us, some of the folks we had been rubbing elbows with throughout the story telling were actual part of the production.
When one of the men from the church in a poorly crafted fake beard offered up another man from the church in a matching getup as Barabbas, some of the nice folks around us began murmuring to set him free and crucify Jesus.
And then it got louder.
And then a lot of the people around us started chanting “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”
Suddenly it all got very real.
Because it wasn’t supposed to go down like that.
This story was familiar to me. It involved Roman soldiers and Jewish Passover attendees. Pharisees and Sadducees and the likes.
Not people dressed like me.
I had sat and listened to it in a pew every Good Friday of my life up to that point.
And I had always shaken my head at how no one spoke out for Him.
Even His disciples were restrained.
But as we stood in between big men and serious looking mom-types raising their fists…my insides were screaming…but I remained outwardly silent.
I have never looked at Good Friday the same.
I find myself reading about our favorite, foot-in-the-mouth disciple, Peter and all his gaffs and rather than rolling my eyes, I say…I get it dude…I would probably have been right there with you.
Standing around the fire, eating my bold words spoken earlier about how even if they took Him to prison…yada yada…weeping bitter tears…
So I pray.
I pray for those siftings that come….those times when I want to shrink back…when the crowd gets loud and ugly…I pray to be one who stands with Him for assuredly He has never left me alone <3