Friday, April 6, 2007

Good Friday

Today is Good Friday.

Many people do not understand the significance of, or know the meaning of, Good Friday.

If I were the one naming the day, I doubt I would call it "good."

This is the day Jesus was crucified. For three days, the world was without God, as the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon the apostles and the physical embodiment of God had perished.

During this week, our Jewish brothers and sisters celebrate Passover. This past Tuesday, I had the privilege of attending a Passover Seder performed by a Messianic Jew, (or, "completed Jew," as many of them like to be called who have learned that Jesus is the Messiah.) At the conclusion, we watched a video showing Jesus being crucified. I believe some of the scenes were taken from the recent movie "The Passion of the Christ," others were from movies I could not identify.

As they were beating our Lord and His blood was dripping upon the ground, I found myself weeping. So was my husband. A few others in the audience were also wiping their eyes, but I found myself astounded to see so many people displaying no emotion.

I'm not trying to say that I am more spiritual than others because I was crying. I know that many people do not display emotion outwardly, particularly in public. I just think it is so sad that we have become so desensitized to violence that when we see a portrayal of our Lord's crucifixion, it often has little to no emotional impact. When other acts of violence are shown on the television or movie screen, we tell ourselves, "it's not real."

This was real.

It was very real.

As part of the Seder I attended, our friend Peter explained the tradition of the firstborn child asking the Four Questions of the Seder. (For more information on Seders, see "Passover on the Net." He explained that it was the duty of the firstborn child to ask these questions because during the actual Passover, it was the firstborn that would have died had the family not sacrificed a lamb and painted the doorpost with its' blood. Peter said, "The firstborn would really identify with that lamb, more so than everyone else in the household. Because if the lamb didn't die, that child would have died."

He went to explain that as God's children, we are all the 'firstborn' and Jesus is our 'lamb.' If He hadn't died, we would have.

It's all very sobering. On this weekend, many people eat candy, hide Easter eggs, and decorate their homes with bunnies and flowers. That is all well and good, but we often forget the purpose of observing this Holy Day at all.

In my family, Good Friday is a day of mourning. We mourn the death of our Lord. My husband dresses head-to-toe in black to mark the occasion.

On Sunday however, we celebrate Christ's resurrection. And what a joyful occasion it is! (Another thing Peter told us at the Seder was that our word "Easter" comes from "Ishtar," who was a pagan god. Instead, he calls the day "Resurrection Sunday." Now that I know the origin of the word, I might start doing that, too.)

Many people consider Christmas to be the cornerstone of the Christian faith. It isn't. While Christ's birth is extremely important, His death is more so. Without His death, we would not have salvation. Had there not been a death, then celebrating His birth would be meaningless.

I hope everyone has a good weekend, and a happy Resurrection Sunday!


Damselfly said...

Once when I was in college, I had a class on Good Friday. Someone said, "What's so good about it? Jesus *died*." I always wished I had had an answer for that person. But I didn't say anything. Several years later, I learned I could have told my classmate that Good Friday is good because it means we can be reconciled with God.

A Typical Matt Love said...

I have long thought it was interesting that people become so emotional about the suffering of Jesus on the cross, yet are oblvious of the countless others that the Roman Empire executed in the same way. These others had no belief that they were the son of God, that they could step down off the cross through a miracle if they wished, that they would soon be with their heavenly father when they died. They were just ordinary people like you and me who died horrible agonizing deaths. Notorious mass crucifixions followed the Third Servile War (the slave rebellion under Spartacus), the Roman Civil War, and the destruction of Jerusalem. The famous Roman roads were lined for miles with the crucified bodies of slaves.

We now live in times when a man who claims to be Christian is bringing back some very imperial concepts and practices. We are slaves of the state with no privacy rights. Torture is justified to maintain the social order. These are some extremely vivid thoughts to keep in mind through the Easter season.

Darlene said...

Jen, I just wanted to come by to answer your question. You can always find out who is hosting by clicking the "In 'Other' Words" graphic on my site. It leads us to the in other words home base. The graphics that bloggers normally post with their weekly blog article are linked to that page. You can get the quote, the code, and find out who is hosting here:

The info is posted every Friday. :)

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Amber said...

Well stated! Good Friday should indeed be a day of deep reflections and Easter should be a time of great rejoicing.

I hope yours was wonderful!