A friend of mine left Friday morning to attend a funeral in his hometown.
Over lunch, another friend shared the struggle of realizing that her father is dying.
In the afternoon, I grieved with still another friend over the loss of a dear, close relative.
Then I discovered that a good friend was being held at gunpoint in Sudan. She is one of my heroes for pursuing a childhood dream of starting a medical clinic near the Darfur region. A group of militants took over their compound and held the workers and patients hostage. As I prayed for their deliverance, I remembered her telling me years ago that she would consider it a privilege to lose her life while serving in Africa.
That evening as a group of us enjoyed the spring weather, coffee, and conversation on a café patio, someone mentioned that a man she'd known for years had recently commit suicide.
In the parking lot as we were leaving, someone else got a phone call. Her "Oh no!" was alarming, but before we could find out what had happened a woman pulled up. She asked us for directions and lisped out her story through a broken jaw: she was in an abusive relationship, she told us, and was on her way to meet the creep so the police could catch him. She was bruised and nervous, but what struck me most was the pink baby carrier buckled into the backseat.
When she left, we learned the source of my friend's "Oh no": her sister's friend, a single mother of four, had lost her little boy. He'd been abducted, horribly molested, and killed.
By now the day had gotten a bit surreal. What's more, I kept checking for updates but still had no news from Sudan.
That morning I'd led a worship service focused on the weight and wonder of the cross. One of the aspects we meditated on was how Jesus was falsely accused at his trial and did not defend himself; we, on the other hand, are truly guilty but try to justify our crime. And he took the punishment while we go free.
As Friday progressed another friend of mine kept those of us in his social network updated on the events of that day in history. "By now he had been betrayed and humanity was putting God on trial. It was a good Friday," he tweeted. He continued throughout the day as Jesus was questioned and the crowds chose a criminal over him. And then: "Now the entire weight of wrath fell on him. Not some or part, but all. God was killing his Son. But it was a good Friday."
We are badly, badly broken. We're so unworthy of the cross -- but oh, how we need it.