We all want peace, joy, and life. When we encounter suffering, pain, or death, we fight against it, or avoid it, passing over it as quickly as possible. We want to keep our distance from what makes us uncomfortable.
With the world currently shut-down for a global pandemic it has become more difficult to avoid or ignore suffering. It is all around us. We have all been forced to dramatically change our lives. We are separated from our loved ones, from family and friends. People are sick and dying. There is a lot of fear and uncertainty about what the future holds.
In the midst of all of this, the Church celebrated Easter; Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. I often find that people want to rush from the cross to the empty grave. Death and suffering are uncomfortable, and it is so much more attractive to jump to the victorious celebration of an empty grave.
This year I found it especially meaningful to simply focus on the cross on Good Friday and to wait for Sunday to celebrate the resurrection. When we take the time to focus on Christ’s suffering and death on the cross we come to see a God who loves us so much that he willingly sufferings with us. He enters into our pain, sickness, and death. He walks with us in it.
My wife and I recently started a band called Liturgie. Our music is all about finding the sacred in the everyday ordinary. The first song we released is a rewrite of an old Good Friday Hymn. It helps us dwell on the suffering Jesus endured on the cross. It helps us reflect on our brokenness and our need for the one who suffers with us, who forgives us, and who declares on the cross that it is finished.
In the uncertainty of the present moment we can find hope in the truth that Jesus is alive, that he is risen, that he is coming again soon. But we can also find hope and comfort in the truth that God is with us, that he suffers with us, and that we are not alone.
You can stream O Sacred Head (It Is Finished) on Apple Music, Spotify, and Youtube Music. We recorded the song live off the floor with an incredible group of musicians, all listed below. We also had our friend Fadzaiishe Ziramba film the live performance.
Music and Lyrics by: James MacKnight
Produced by: Matthew R.C. Smith, and James & Kirstyn MacKnight
Mixed by: James MacKnight
Mastered by: Jeff Muir of Diotic Sound
Acoustic Guitar & Vocals: James MacKnight
Piano & Vocals: Kirstyn MacKnight
Synth Bass & Vocals: David Smith
Violin: Emily Hau and Bryson Dell
Percussion: Joel Fifield
Electric Guitar: Matthew R.C. Smith