First Larne Presbyterian Church

First Larne Presbyterian Church

My Dad and the Son Who Died - written on Good Friday

My Dad, and the Son who Died

My Dad died last week, ultimately, like oh so many, of the coronavirus. We hadn’t seen him for over three weeks, and though he was full of years, full of love, and, to the very last, full of humour, his death was untimely. It always is.

It was never meant to be this way.

That’s why, on this day, Jesus gave himself up to death – to kill it, rolled-away-stone dead.

Death is an outrage. Yes, our common end, but an outrage. And the grief? Who can measure another’s pain, or know when it will come – the roiling waves, the beating of your chest, the lostness, the not knowing where to look, because everywhere you look some sweet memory kicks you in the gut?

It was never meant to be this way.

That’s why, on this day, Jesus suffered such unanaesthetised pain – to put an end to all pain.

And there are the regrets. The ‘if only I hads’, the ‘what ifs’ – the things that I really do need to repent of. And then there are the sulphuric accusations, the false condemnations, the hissperings of that snake in your ear.

It was never meant to be this way.

That’s why, on this day, Jesus gave his life willingly as a ransom for many – to wash us clean by the priceless blood of his infinite forgiveness, heal us new, and send us into our todays, full of him, full of life, abounding in love. 

My Dad grew up Jewish. His funeral was on Wednesday, three hours before this year’s Passover began. But the Passover wasn’t enough for him. Or for us. Or for God’s ultimate purposes. Oppression, enslavement, exploitation – all that needed to end, and, yes, a new beginning offered – milk and honey in a new land. But it wasn’t enough.

That’s why Jesus came. He wanted to change our hearts. And he wanted us with him forever.

And that’s why, on this day, Jesus, in the midst of his death-agony, promised forever-life to the thief who asked, and who could do nothing except the one work God required (John 6:29): to trust in him as Lord, as Saviour.

How beautifully simple.

I don’t know if my Dad embraced Jesus in our last call on his last evening. His voice was thin and it was hard to tell. I just have to trust him to God’s care.

That’s why, on this day, Jesus died, to miraculously enable me to trust him, even with that.

Oh Lord, in these ghastly times, help us, help us to be sharers of your life.


Mark Greene 
Executive Director, LICC