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Good Friday

Serve With Hope

Isaiah 52:13–53:12
John 18:1–19:42

by Amanda Mountain

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

John 19:25-27
Amanda Mountain

In John 18:1–19:42, only three women are mentioned in the final moments before Jesus’ death. Mary, Jesus’ mother; Mary Magdalene; and Mary’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, are likely frightened and in shock at the suffering being endured by their beloved son, friend, and nephew. They may also fear what will happen to them once he is gone. Where will they live? Who will care for them? Women historically were the property of their husbands or their eldest son, and as women, they would need to live under a male guardian’s roof. Without Jesus, they would have no place to call home. But, even in his moment of death, Jesus is looking after the women in his life, ensuring there is someone to care for them. He still loves others through his actions even in the dark presence of death. It is important we fully embrace the messages of Good Friday. We are still called to serve others even in the darkest of times. We must press on and serve with hope, knowing that something is growing. Much like waiting for a yeasted dough, a movement is multiplying and growing into something we cannot yet see.

As a queer lifelong United Methodist who was present at General Conference 2019 the moment the traditional plan passed, and who responded to a calling as a deaconess to a lifelong ministry of love, justice, and service, I have had to dig deep on some days to maintain the hope, to keep the faith, and to keep serving a denomination that says I am incompatible with its teachings. And no matter what happens at General Conference 2024, I will still be a United Methodist and a faithful follower of Jesus the Christ. Because he lives, I can indeed face tomorrow. Something new and beautiful could emerge out of this moment, but I think the denomination needed to be in the Good Friday period of the last four years to grow into the new thing that will soon spring forth! We can’t stop doing the work Jesus called us to do— serving others, fighting systems of oppression, and all that robs the living of dignity and fullness of life. We must go through Good Friday to get to Sunday, and we should still serve as Christ taught us while we wait.

Prayer: God, grant us the patience to endure the Good Friday seasons and the strength to continue to serve with hope, knowing Sunday is coming.

Amanda Mountain is a United Methodist deaconess and serves as the Transformative Experience Specialist with United Women in Faith. She grew up in the North Georgia Conference and now lives in Chicago with her wife.

The photograph is from the 2024 Prayer Guide.

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