God’s helplessness

Good Friday 2012 – a Reflection
Marian Free

In the name of God who offers salvation, but who will not force us to take it. Amen.

(If you are reading this reflection, you might first like to read the poem Eli, Eli by Judith Wright, which is the basis for these thoughts. A copy of our Good Friday Service can be found on one of the pages to the right.)


Good Friday overturns all our expectations and throws everything we believe into disarray. God is meant to be almighty, all-powerful, able to control the whole universe. We want God to be strong and invincible – to be able to protect us from all harm. Yet here God is, nailed to the cross – anguished, vulnerable, dying – alone. Utterly helpless.

Today we face the terrifying, confronting and confusing reality of a crucified God, a God who submits to humanity’s cruelty and lust for power, a God who chooses to let us do as we want, not as he wants.

Wright’s poem beautifully captures the strength of will and the pain that it takes for God to let us be, to let us find our own way to truth and beauty. Nowhere is this self control more evident than on the cross. Nailed to a piece of wood by the very people that he had come to save, Jesus refuses to stop them or to force them to change their minds. He resists the temptation to use the invisible wand. He will not impose his will on us – even for our own good.

The poem ends with the challenging and confronting statement that there is no river. Wright recognises that our suffering is our own creation – brought about not by external circumstances but by our selfishness, greed and pride which lead to division, disparity and destruction. Our refusal to accept God’s love and our failure to live up to God’s trust in us is not only our greatest betrayal but the cause of all the world’s afflictions.

We want God to save us. We need to know that he already has.



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