With us.

Today I will be part of a Good Friday service. I will be in a building full of people. I will be with my best friend and three great friends.

Almost none of the people want to be in the building. More accurately, none of the people want the pain and the brokenness that mean they have to be in the building, this hospital. Even in the family birthing section, no one actually wants the pain, though they are grateful for the result.

They come because the pain and risk of not being here are scarier than the pain of being here. We often don’t want the pain of surgery or of physical therapy, the brutality of chemo, the feeling of the vent tube. But we know that without that pain, there won’t be the chance of healing.

I’m reading Isaiah 53, words written long before the day that Jesus was killed, words could have been written a day later.

He was despised, rejected. He was a man of suffering. He was familiar with pain. Everyone assumed that he had done something wrong, that his dying was a punishment from God.

He could be in our hospital. One of the people blamed by some for their own illness, despised for their weak will, rejected by family and friends and enemies. One of the people who assume that God is punishing them with this illness.

That happens, you know. People condemn other people. People despise other people for their choices, rejoice in their affliction. Not you and me, of course, but there are people.

The most remarkable thing about Isaiah 53 is not that the suffering resonates with us. The most remarkable thing is that the sufferer resonated with us. There was a willing acceptance of the rejection and suffering, the pain and the death.

Not just so he could look at us in our moments of pain and say, “I understand.”

He died and rose so that we could look at him and say, “I don’t understand.” And he could say, “I love you. And you. And you. And you. And you. And you. And you. And you. And you. And you. And you. And you