Good Friday

Traditional Sermon

We don’t want to be here.

We avoid death. We’re alive. And as living beings we avoid everything about death.

Our eyes shift toward tragedy until we encounter the source of death and quickly our eyes turn away to things of life. Our noses find the smell of decay and long for clean, fresh air void of stench. Our very skin desires to touch warm, soft, vibrant things. Not cold, hardened, broken things.

On the most basic level our cells crave, need, search out and cry for signs of life.

We avoid death.

We avoid being reminded of death. Talk of wills and life insurance policies can break out a sweat because it reminds us of our numbered days. We cut, dye, and pull out grey hairs that threaten our sense of identity. Wrinkles laugh at our fear and remind us of our vulnerability.

We run away from the harm and disease that lead us to death’s door. We steer away from the pallor of death that may shroud a room.

Most of us stay far away from the places of death… unless our very being wills us to those places. Those death places. Because we love.

And in that love we ignore our eyes beseeching, we forget to smell, our hands grab and cling for the one we love–regardless of how cold, hardened or broken they are.

We don’t want to be here. No matter how deep our piety may be to observe Good Friday and ponder our Lord’s death…on some level we long for the day to pass along so that we can get to the Easter morn.

We may be tempted to skip this day all together….to wave our palms on Palm Sunday and chase after bright plastic eggs with treasures inside, to eat special breakfasts that celebrate the season, to adorn our houses with the color of Easter and plan Easter meals with the families that we so dearly love. We yearn for life events. Not death events.

We don’t want to be here.

Who really wants to ponder the cross?

We can stare for hours at a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. We can feel the flush of his mother Mary and the pride of his earthly father Joseph. We can watch with the shepherds and our ears long for the sweet music of an angelic choir singing of a Savior’s birth. We can linger for days with the travels of the Wise Men and marvel at the stars they observed so closely. We can ponder Immanuel, God with us. Innocent. Benevolent. Delivered to deliver us. Hope born to us. Possibilities of life lived well and victorious.

As a mother, it breaks my heart to be wrapped in the garb of Mary watching her own son be slowly tortured and killed.

As a friend, it is gut-wrenching to place myself in the shoes of the dear disciple who is given the duty to carry on.

As a frail human being, it is too easy for me to immerse myself in the bystanders who gawk, sneer and snark at this tragedy.

It is almost cruel to ponder that babe–the immaculate child–grown to be a man who suffers in such a way.

The Word made flesh. The babe born in Bethlehem, the rabbi of Nazareth, the prophet known as Jesus… God wrapped in frail human flesh. With nails piercing through his hands and his feet.The hands of God. Power in powerlessness.

It is here, at the place called the Skull. It is here where we see God’s hand most plainly. It is here where we see God’s power most fully. Because only the power, the hand of God could handle the sin of this world. Yes, this is our God who, as the prophet Isaiah described, has etched our names on the palms of his hands. And with our names—so too our weaknesses, our iniquities, our ugliness, our sins have been etched and nailed to the cross—dying so that the hand of God—pierced through, both vulnerable and yet so powerful—may give us the greatest gift of all—redemption and life.

We don’t want to be here.

That is why our Savior is here in our place. Most of us stay far away from the places of death… unless our very being wills us to those places. Those death places. Because of love.

God’s love for God’s own.

And in that love the hand of God grabs and clings for the ones God loves–
regardless of how cold we are, regardless of how hardened we are, regardless of how  broken we are.

That is God’s love for God’s own. Death won’t turn God away to love God’s own.

And it is in this place of death that God find us, loves us, and carries us to new life.


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Rev. Sarah Teichmann

Pastor of Christian Formation

Pastor Sarah served as Pastor of Christian Formation at St. Peter’s from 2014 – 2021. She now serves the wider church as a partner at Kirby-Smith Associates.

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