"My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?Â Why are You so far from helping Me?" (Psalm 22:1 from the Introit for Holy Week)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Holy Week begins with the Introit for Palm Sunday and the terrible reminder of how awful the Cross is: God abandons Jesus.
This is what hell really is, dear child of God! Hell isn't just the scorching hot or bitter teeth-chattering cold. Hell is what existence is like if God truly turned His back on you. Hell is if God gave you what you deserve: a universe absent of His love and mercy toward you.
But we must want this existence! It's how we live every day! We act as if we would be a better god than God Himself. We live as if we matter most and those around us matter least, even God. We actually think that some of the things we do don't have eternal consequences! We need to give up the idea that we aren't just one Good Friday away from hell! Repent!
Good Friday. On Good Friday, Jesus takes on the abandonment of God which is due your sin. No, more than that, Jesus takes on the abandonment due all sin for all time. He endures all the hell for all the sin from all the people who have ever lived for all time and who will ever live for all time.
On the Cross, Jesus is alone--utterly alone. This is Good Friday. This is the abandonment of God. All the goodness of God in the universe is turned from Jesus. It's replaced with the wrath and punishment that God has had against all sin for all time.
He takes it all. He endures it all. It kills him. Hell and death die with Him. He rises from the dead and bursts the gates of hell itself!
You will never be abandoned by God in Christ. You will never be alone--truly alone. You will never ever be in hell--either here on earth or in eternity. Always, every day, every moment, in Holy Baptism there will be some Light, some hope, some joy even in the midst of the darkest times. God cannot abandon you anymore, not after Good Friday.
The fires of hell no longer burn for you. Your teeth will not chatter in the cold of the grave. Good Friday brought that to an end. Jesus has consumed all of the abandonment of God. You have life, love and care of the Son of God. You have eternal life now and forever. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.