Today is the most somber holiday in the Christian calendar. So my usual sarcastic, irreverent Friday post doesn’t seem like the thing to do.
If you are not familiar with the story, here it is in a nutshell.
God creates humanity. Humanity rejects God. God reaches out to humanity over and over and over again. Humanity rejects God over and over and over again. It’s kind of our thing.
God becomes human (Jesus, God the Son, is born. Merry Christmas). Jesus reaches out to humanity. Humanity rejects him. In fact, humanity strips him naked, beats him up, and kills him.
This is the part where you almost expect the giant Hand of God (a la Monty Python) to reach down and smite us all, smite us good. Instead, God the Father lets his Son die, because that was the plan all along. He was the ultimate sacrifice – the blood ransom to free us from a prison of our own making.
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin
so that he’d see life come from it
– life, life, and more life.
Whatever you believe about Jesus or Christianity, this day is for all humanity. Yes, it is serious, but worth celebrating. So, here are some of my Good Friday Favourites.
This Word played life against death and death against life in tournament on the wood of the most holy cross, so that by his death he destroyed our death, and to give us life he spent his own bodily life. With love, then, he has so drawn us and with his kindness so conquered our malice that every heart should be won over. Catherine of Siena
My friend Marc makes an important, spiritually powerful point. “Pontius Pilate is a pylon.” And how! Here is a post about the guy who just stood there and let it all happen: Pilatitus. Definitely worth a read, because sometimes we’re just like him.
Also, Laura Ziesal wrote a post that has stuck with me this week. “We serve a God who is not far from our pain.” Though Good Friday is not the main topic, My Least Favourite Day of the Year speaks to it in a powerful way, especially for anyone who has lost a child.
Don’t tell my Anabaptist ancestors, but occasionally I have a hankering for liturgy and the rituals of High Church. Yep, I’m pretty sure my Grandpa is spinning in his grave right now.
There is a richness and ancient meaning behind centuries old traditions. If I were going to pick one which appeals to me most, it would be Via Crucis, the Stations of the Cross. Whether it is a series of art displayed throughout a cathedral, an interactive physical experience or simply a devotional guide, each of the stations depicts a different part of the Good Friday story. Usually there are thoughts and prayers to meditate on at each station. Remembering is not something that just happens, it is something we do on purpose.
Pray through the Stations of the Cross online.
It seems kind of douche-y to have a “favourite” part of Good Friday, since it’s all very grim and painful. But the time Jesus spent in the Garden of Gethsemane is what I am finding most meaningful lately. It hits me every time… Jesus did not eagerly skip to the cross with a serene smile on his face and a cheesy hymn on his lips . He struggled, he cried, he felt the bitterness of grief, and he begged for reprieve. Kind of encouraging for those of us who do not always find God’s will easy to stomach. It also makes his ultimate choice that much more meaningful.
Mel Gibson may be an enormous schmuck, but he did a great job dramatizing spiritual agony (not exactly the most visual concept) in Passion of the Christ.
So here’s me, forgiven, because He was forsaken. Take that creepy snake-satan!