Friday, April 14, 2017
“Good Friday is not about us trying to ‘get right with God.’ It is about us entering the difference between God and humanity and just touching it for a moment. ” ― Nadia Bolz-Weber
I could never understand why the day that Christ was crucified was called “Good Friday” because it just didn’t make sense. Then, after I was in my forties and in seminary, having decided to give my life to God, I heard the sermon “It May be Friday Night, but Sunday’s Coming!” Then, and only then, did it begin to make sense to me. Without the pain of Friday there would be no joy on Sunday morning. What really brought it home to me was getting older, I mean really older when body parts go missing and others break down and only the concerted efforts of medical experts can keep you going. Older such that you make a noise every time you get out of a chair, older such that every joint announces its condition with changing weather, older such that you limp when you walk, older such that your own relatives and friends have begun to pass into God’s arms—that kind of older. When you have suffered much during your life and know that there is more suffering yet to come, you can begin to really appreciate the joy and release that entering into the Kingdom of Heaven will bring. My “Good Friday” has lasted more than a dozen years and is still counting, but boy-oh-boy do I understand that “Sunday’s Coming.” I know now that the darkness of pain and loss will be replaced by the joy of the empty tomb, the sight of the stone that has been rolled away. My grandmother alluded to it when she used to say that no storm lasts forever. She was so very, very right. Gandhi put it this way, “Remember that all through history, there have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they seem invincible. But in the end, they always fall. Always.” He was right, too. Nothing can stand in the way of Easter Sunday Morning, nothing. No matter how dark things may seem on Friday Night, there is a glorious sunrise and Son Rise coming on Sunday Morning. Theologians will prattle on for ages about the need for pain to provide joy and all the countless and numerous things that happened that Friday and why they were all somehow “good” but that doesn’t do it for me. That “Sunday Morning” is not about logic, reason, and well-intentioned dialogue. No, Easter Sunday morning is about inexpressible joy, the feeling of your heart leaping up in your chest, a smile that slowly illuminates your face that simply cannot be dimmed, the knowledge that on Friday, Christ died for me, even me, sinner that I am, but Sunday's coming. If you can make it to a sunrise service, you should. Beginning that day of all days in the company of the faithful, friends, and family can make your entire year. Easter Sunday Morning brings the Good News that will always be a banner headline in every faithful heart. Christ is Risen. Christ is Risen, indeed. Christ is Risen and will remain so for all eternity for you for me and for generations yet unborn. And that, my friends, is why we call it “Good Friday” for there is no better way to prepare you for that great, gettin’ up mornin’ we call Easter.