This was found on Pastor Philip Hoppe’s blog, Meditations of my Heart. Pastor Hoppe serves as pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Ellsworth Kansas. Besides being a pastor, he is husband of one beautiful wife and father to five children. We recently posted his article The Child who Cries in Church Dies in Church.
Papa, why does no one cry when Jesus dies?
This is a question my eight year daughter asked me before Good Friday service tonight. And it is a good question. An important one. One that cuts deep to reveal sin.
She has been to many visitations and funerals as a pastor’s kid and at each one there is always someone crying. Someone mourning the loss. Someone pondering what the death means. And yet, each year on Good Friday no one cries. It struck her as odd. It probably should.
In all my years of Good Friday services, I can only ever remember seeing one person cry. And that is bit strange. I hope that the lack of emotion can just be explained away due to the fact that I am usually surrounded by Germans who would rather die than cry. But I have seen even those people cry at funerals of others.
But this is not a funeral, you say. It is only a remembrance of a death. It is, but many tears are also cried on the anniversaries of the death of others. Anyone who knows a widow well knows how those remembrances can move a grieving one to tears.
So, should we all feign tears next year so my daughter will understand the importance of his death? Well, perhaps, for the kids’ sake alone, even feigned tears might be instructive.
But the truth is our lack of emotion likely truly reveals a deeper issue. Our affection for Jesus is often simply lacking. Our head loves him. Our mouths confess that we love him. But our heart are often not connected to Him as they should be.
He ought to be more precious to us than any other. Yes, even more precious than a husband of many years to a wife. And so when we remember his death, it is right that we should be moved.
Is our faith judged solely on emotions? Of course not. But if other much less important things moves us to tears or joy and our relationship to Jesus does not, there is a problem. And if we confess that to God, then as he forgives us and raises us to new life perhaps we won’t have to feign tears at all.
And my daughter will not have to ask, “Papa, why does no one cry when Jesus dies?”