The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies offers this Good Friday meditation for Episcopal Relief and Development:
It is Good Friday. A somber and painful day. A day of betrayal and suffering. Jesus stands accused and convicted. His friends have deserted him. Peter denies him. He is flogged, given a crown of thorns by the soldiers, mocked by the crowd, and finally crucified. It is a horrific death, and as many times as I have heard the story, it never fails to move me beyond words.
In spite of it all, Jesus says to Pilate, “For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” Jesus is the suffering servant, the Lamb of God.
For the sake of the world, Jesus did not run from suffering. Our faith tells us that Jesus dying on the cross was for the sake of the world, for your redemption and mine. Jesus the Redeemer. Jesus the Holy One who entered into redemptive suffering for the sake of the world.
But sometimes, suffering isn’t redemptive. Sometimes it is just anguish and agony without any apparent purpose or benefit. People are hungry, alone, sick and dying. People suffer because of natural disaster, drought, lack of clean water, preventable disease, and the loss of dignity caused by crushing poverty. There is nothing redemptive when a child suffers from hunger, sickness, or lives in poverty.
Episcopal Relief & Development exists to heal a hurting world. Its work to alleviate unnecessary suffering brings us closer to Jesus the Redeemer, who gave himself in love. We too can give ourselves in love by partnering with Episcopal Relief & Development and participating as compassionate responders. Episcopal Relief & Development works not only to alleviate suffering, but also to eradicate the root causes of suffering. There is no more important work we can do in the name of Jesus the Redeemer.