PLATTSBURGH — For the Rev. Phil Richards, Good Friday is a story of God’s love and God’s love for all.
“So what happened between Palm Sunday and Easter is basically the story of Jesus’s last week and the significance of that last week,” said Richards, pastor of Plattsburgh United Methodist Church on Beekman Street.
“What is amazing to me about the story over the years has been that throughout that week, Jesus stays true to his purpose, to his passion and to his life’s calling. So, he stays true to his community. And even in the midst of the shouts of ‘hosanna, blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord,’ for example, where the crowds are adoring him, he stays true to what his call in life is. And that is to share God’s love with the world and to call on people and call on communities to live out that love every single day of their lives.”
Palm Sunday to Holy Thursday, it’s a joy-filled time.
“Holy Thursday, which is his last night with the disciples,” Richards said. “He’s sitting at a table where one of the disciples betrays him. He sits at the table where one of the disciples is going to deny him. One has betrayed him (Judas Iscariot), and one is going to deny him (Peter). He still stays true to God’s love even in the midst of knowing that his closest friends sitting at the table with him are slowly falling away.”
Cries of “hosanna” soon turn to shouts of “crucify him.” Jesus was tried and condemned by the Sanhedrin, a Jewish judicial council, before Pontius Pilate authorized the crucifixion.
“So what ends up happening, even then, he goes to the cross staying true to who he was, what his mission was all about and what his calling was all about and Easter Sunday, he dies on Friday, and for all intent and purposes, that could have been the end,” Richards said.