Reformation Lutheran Church A Congregation of the ELCA

Read Matthew 27:45-56

Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. (vv 50-52)


It was one of those beautiful Indian summer days in upstate New York. The trees had already turned and were wearing the startling autumn colors of the Hudson Valley. We were walking through a wooded area, holding hands. Everything in nature was beyond beautiful. The sun was shining; the sky was as blue as blue can be; we could smell the earth. I remember it all, but the most powerful image that remains after all these years is the sumac. Brilliant, red, poisonous sumac.

It was the day our daughter died.

She was a beautiful young girl, just barely 14. Her name was Colleen. She had cut school and was hanging out with some older kids. They were drinking beer. The driver of the car was 18 and legally drunk when he crashed his car into a tree on one of those narrow, winding New York roads. Colleen died several days later when life support was removed. The driver walked away unharmed.

I have no words to describe the devastation my husband and I felt when Colleen was killed in such a violent and senseless way. I couldn’t breathe. The grief was overpowering. And I was just the stepmother. If it was such a gut-wrenching loss to me, what did it mean for my husband, for Colleen’s mother, and for Colleen’s brother and sister?

Unless you’ve been there, you can’t imagine the depths of grief you feel when one of your babies dies.

On this Good Friday, I wonder: How did God feel when his beloved Son was murdered in a horribly cruel and inhumane way? I don’t know the mind of God, but if I were God, I’d do just what God did. I’d rip the curtain, turn off the sun, have an earthquake, break the rocks, open the tombs and have dead people walking. If I were God, my heart would be broken when they killed my child.

There can be no greater hurt to your heart than witnessing the suffering or death of your child. Even though the Father knew how the story would end, God must have been weeping with Mary as she took Jesus to the tomb.

Dallas Cronk

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