He is Risen!
Greetings Siblings in Christ,
He is risen indeed! Obviously this article will be available weeks before we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, but the truth and power of the resurrection is something we proclaim and a reality we live into every single day of our lives. And that is a reality for every believer pre and post resurrection for all eternity. Normally this month’s article would be focused on Easter, but this year my focus will be on the second day of what is called the Triduum, otherwise known as Good Friday.
I have always felt a little uneasy with the ‘good’ in Good Friday. It certainly was not a good day for Jesus’ followers, those who witnessed His persecution and execution. From Jesus’ human perspective it most definitely was not a good Friday, but from a divine perspective it was one of the best days. That is hard to imagine or understand and that is part of the tension that exists in that blessed day. Undoubtedly it is a very good day for believers like you and I. I suppose my discomfort resides in the tension that is very much a part of that day.
Christianity focuses much more on the birth and life of Jesus. Sure, we talk about the cross often, but it is usually pretty sterilized, or disconnected, with Jesus’ actual death. The cross makes allusions to His death, but the horrifying details are left unspoken except for on Good Friday when we read the story of Jesus betrayal, arrest, trial and execution. It is not a typical worship service at all. In every other instance our worship services are uplifting, encouraging, comforting, and generally positive. Not this day. It is somber, really somber. We enter in silence, leave in silence and in between are reminded of the cost of our salvation and reminded that we are all co-responsible for what happened to Jesus.
But, we would not have the hallelujahs and empty tomb without the death. Death is what gives us life and that is uncomfortable and filled with tension. In every other instance when humans die it is traumatic and the finality of it is one of the aspects that makes our grief so difficult. The death that Christ died is and was different. It was not the end, it was the beginning for you and I and every other believer. Just as Jesus was raised again to new life we too have the promise of eternal life and a new beginning.
That is the reason we call it Good Friday and that is what the gathering on the Friday before Easter is really all about. It is the painful reminder of how horrific death was for Jesus, the cost of our salvation, that leads to a more profound and life giving HALLELUJAH on Easter morning. There would not be an empty tomb without a bloody cross. For me attending the Good Friday service has always made Easter Sunday that much more powerful and joyous because I experience the full range of emotion that is a byproduct of the tension of the Tridium, or three days. If you have not been in the habit of attending Good Friday services I hope that this article will encourage you to join us that Friday before Easter. If you were or are in the habit of attending Good Friday services then you know what I am talking about. There is no empty tomb without the cross.