I’ve had a cold this week. And my husband has been working out of town and I’ve still had six people to take care of in between the coughing bouts and the sneezing and the poor-me-my-head-hurts moments.
It kind of felt like suffering, but even while I was in the middle of feeling sorry for myself I knew I didn’t really get suffering.
And on Good Friday, when I’m thinking about the Jesus of dusty roads and mountain sermons and upper rooms, the Jesus who carried a wooden beam to a hill of death, the Jesus who was stretched and nailed and lifted and who died in plain view of family and friends and enemies… on this day, like no other day, I know I don’t know.
If I’m honest, I don’t want to know. I don’t know how Paul could have written that, really, and actually meant it. He said it more than once, so he must have.
I’m not a theologian, but I can google.
… that I may know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Here’s what I see in this verse. I see the resurrection part (see, he says it twice) bracketing the suffering and death part, and that seems important to me.
I think I see this. I think the power of His resurrection comes first in this verse because that’s the power that takes me through my life. That’s the power that takes me through the ups and downs and the challenges of faith and eventually, hopefully, to faithful death. Faithful to the end, like Him, and then the beautiful resurrection, like His.
This is what I think on this Good Friday, while the spring rain falls cold – funeral weather – and the cross is in the back of my mind. I think the fellowship of His suffering begins with first accepting the power of His resurrection.
It’s backwards or upside down, maybe, but that’s what He does. That’s what His death does. His resurrection surrounds it all, even death.
That’s Good Friday.