Rejoicing: Good Friday thoughts on suffering, grace, and great rejoicing

by Christine Sine
rejoicing on the cross poem excerpt C joylenton original image by congerdesign

by Joy Lenton

On the cross

brought down to dust
his body pierced and soul crushed
never more alone
trapped in the deepest darkness
no wriggle room on the cross

his weakened voice
cries out nevertheless
to the Father
desolation reigns supreme
in this hour becoming sin

his heart broken
as his father turns away
cannot look at him
at his glorious Son
ingloriously undone

the skies weep
the darkness closes in
like a curse
as heaven watches, waits
with tears and bated breath

it is finished
groans and silent sighs escape
they rent the air
as dividing curtain tears
heaven’s rejoicing occurs
© joylenton

way of the cross image by Falco

way of the cross image by Falco


“For three hours, beginning at noon, darkness came over the earth. And at three o’clock Jesus shouted with a mighty voice in Aramaic, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”—that is, “My God, My God, why have you deserted me?’ Some who were standing near the cross misunderstood and said, ‘He’s calling for Elijah.’ One bystander ran and got a sponge, soaked it with sour wine, then put it on a stick and held it up for Jesus to drink. But the rest said, ‘Leave him alone! Let’s see if Elijah comes to rescue him.’ Jesus passionately cried out, took his last breath, and gave up his spirit.” — Matthew 27:45-50 TPT


The enormity of the cross of Christ hits us afresh whenever we read the bible passages that relate the ordeal that it was. Films that depict every gory detail of Christ’s physical suffering are usually too painful to watch. Each year, we are reminded of it during the season of Lent, for our faith rests on the cross.

The suffering of Christ is what sets us free from sin. We’re freed from its penalty because he took it on himself instead. We’ve been set free from guilt and shame, and freed to live as God intends us to. The wonder of it all never ceases.


Suffering Saviour,

We are apt to focus most on the physical aspects of your crucifixion, but the spiritual and relational agony you suffered from are no less painful. Prior to coming to earth, you enjoyed deep intimacy with your Father. You were so closely entwined—as you are now—with him that you share his holiness and deity. 

As God’s only begotten Son, voluntary giving up your position in heaven was a huge sacrifice to make. Yet you yielded, surrendered willingly to this temporary loss, though you communicated as closely as before. Until that moment on the cross when holy Father God could not look at his sin-bearing Son. Then finally… the rejoicing came. And we rejoice, too, knowing what happened next.


imageedit 1 2704614773*This post has been extracted from Joy’s book Experiencing Lent: Sensing the Sacred in Our Midst, which is now available on Amazon.*

Feature photo above by congerdesign, poem piece by © joylenton




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