good friday

a somber day

I never understood why it was called “Good Friday” in Holy Week.

What on earth “good” was there to Jesus being crucified?

How was it ever “good” that he had to drag his own cross through the rough streets of Jerusalem and then up to Golgotha?

It was good for us, of course, because He was dying for OUR sins. But it was surely an awful day for everyone when it happened.

I recently read the Bible in novel form. And wondered how it would treat the crucifixion. It was devastating. I should read that section again today, but I am reluctant to do so…what a horrifying experience for everyone involved.

Jesus himself cried out to his Father, God, to take him quickly. But he knew he had to suffer. His mother watched. And the disciple John. None of the other disciples could stomach it. They may have taken it personally. He was, after all, their leader and supposedly the son of God, so…..dying wasn’t in their script, one would think. It would be pretty demoralizing.

The disciples were unprepared for His resurrection, too, if you recall. The two women found the empty tomb, and the disciples didn’t really believe them at first. You know, women….emotional and all. They were probably screaming! I would have been! The tomb was open, Jesus was gone, and an angel told them He was “arisen.” Some room for excitement there.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves to make the point that, from a 2000 year perspective we can see how solemn a day this was. But it was a necessary piece of Jesus’ mission on earth. In the modern vernacular, he was “representing.” US. Our sins. He took that on, for us, that day.

When I was young and living in a northeastern city, Good Friday was a day of 3 hour church for Catholics. Not everyone went the whole three hours, of course, even then. But a lot of people did. It was considered an act of contrition, and Catholics are about nothing if not contrition. They are the church of incessant guilt. We talk about Jewish mothers and guilt, but the entire Catholic church is built on it. Anyway, Good Friday was the ultimate day of contrition.

benediction (C) CarolJoyShannon 2018

Then you have sort of a limbo day on Saturday. The Britannica – which has been an interesting resource this week – has this to say about Good Friday and there’s also some history of how the church has celebrated the other days of Holy Week. Evidently, until the 4th Century, only a vigil on Saturday evening was ever held. Sunday would have been some sort of celebratory feast, most likely. But that was it. The other days have found their way into church calendars over the millennia, but even today, with secularism swallowing up religious connections, Good Friday is too serious to mess with.

Thankfully. It is good to have some solemn days. Days to consider… well, everything.

The world is a scary place, but heaven awaits all believers. So, pause and reflect.

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