Friday, April 02, 2010

Thoughts on Good Friday 2010

Noticing some postings on Facebook, there are the several who would insist that “good” Friday be changed to “great” Friday because the death of Jesus gave life to the world, when darkness seemed to overshadow light, when evil seemed to triumph over good, when the devil was dancing in the street while the faithful moaned and wailed. In the grand scheme there is nothing wrong with what is being said except for this one tiny detail: it isn’t Easter yet.

Maybe I’m splitting a fine hair and maybe I need to lighten up a bit (as one writer suggested), but discipleship is a journey, I think. Not that I want to take anything away from those who look upon this very dark day as “good” or “great”, but going to the foot of the cross and watching Him suffer, groan, and bleed to death; watching his mother live a horror no parent would hope to endure is all necessary to the journey. Indeed, how can we understand the power of the Resurrection if we cannot comprehend – or refuse to acknowledge – the power of sin and death made manifest by the cruelty of the Crucifixion?

Like someone once said, I guess I am a “Good Friday” Christian. It is not easy for me to rejoice in the celebration of Easter when I am too stuck on Good Friday, but for me it boils down to this: I see myself too easily caught up in the crowd that demanded Jesus’ life, eager to accuse Him of blasphemy because of my traditionalist, conservative tendencies. Or I can just as easily be seen running away with Peter for the sake of my own skin. In other words, I see my imperfections all too clearly.

I have not refused the grace that comes to the world. I do indeed rejoice in the power of the Resurrection and what it means to all who will come forward to receive it, but I also see myself in the grand scheme as one with a hammer in my hand rather than with a halo around my head. I see all too often through my bad moods, foul temper, and quick judgments a man who could as easily believe as disbelieve.

Through my remorse and my tears, however, there is a cleansing, a purging of all that is within me that does as much to fight against the good as against the evil. And in that cleansing I can approach Easter Sunday with a wonderment still that, though not fully aware of exactly what is happening, is a little more appreciative of the certain spiritual reality that Good will always triumph over evil. It just is that on Good Friday, I feel compelled to find my own place in this Remarkable Story. I know where I would wish to be, but I am saddened by where I most likely fit in.

It is an annual pilgrimage, not unlike Yom Kippur or the Hajj, when I am reminded of the power of Grace over the unworthiness of my own soul. It is a spiritual quest to overcome my own sense of guilt and shame, to be mindful of my continued rebellion in the face of such magnificent Love. One day I may understand it, but until then: Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.

1 comment:

John David Walt said...

sharp reflection here Michael. I'm with you. It's a Good Friday but for all the reasons you denote here. ironic is the word.

great and substantive blog you have here.