Unlike most Holy Weeks in my past, I have been traveling and focusing on things like college visits, family time, and…driving. As a pastor’s wife, Holy Week tends to be one in which our family focuses much time and preparation…and go to church. This year is very, very different because of this travelling week.
Last night, we were on the road – not at the Maundy Thursday service.
Today, we are still on the road (at least for part of the day).
Unlike most Holy Weeks, though, this year I have had a book (Long Live the King by Dale and Jonalyn Fincher) and a little book group to help me focus my mind on the last week of Christ’s life.
Today is Good Friday.
Today, we remember that Christ died on the cross. Today, we remember His suffering. Today, we remember that we were the cause of His death. Today…”good”?
What is so good about today?
“Celebrating” death is a very foreign thing to most of us. Death hurts. It is not fun. We miss the one who has died. We suffer. We cry. Part of us seems to die along with him or her, and we want to curl up in a ball and hide from the world. Or perhaps we are angry and want to lash out. We want to cry out and shake our fist at whatever disease, accident, or incident brought on the death.
More than anything, though, we want that person back.
There is no celebration in death. There is nothing good about it. Even when we know that our loved one, taken over by pain from their disease, is now released from that pain, we see no good reason for it.
Death snatches something precious from us, and we mourn.
In Long Live the King, Dale Fincher calls this day “dark Friday.” My soul responds to that phrase so much better, for it was, indeed, a dark day – literally, according to Matthew 27:45 – “From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land.”
And then Christ died.
So what is good about this?
At the beginning of the chapter for Friday in Long Live the King, the Finchers quote a Scottish preacher named James S. Stewart. His quote tells us what is good about this particular Friday.
They gave him a cross, not guessing that He would make it a throne.
Without the hope of Easter Sunday, the “good” of the dark Friday is nonsense. However, we live on the other side of Easter Sunday.
We know of the resurrection. We know that the story does not end on the dark Friday.
And that which we know, we should tell.
For without the hope of the resurrection for all, death is a dark day.
May today be a day filled with reflection, gratitude, and hope…Sunday is coming!