Who wants to think about death? Many schools and even some public buildings are closed today, but Good Friday services are never crowded. Clearly not everyone is considering this day off as an opportunity for prayer and worship.
Over the years I’ve heard many reasons for not attending Good Friday services.
- “It’s too sad.”
- “I already know the story.”
- “I don’t like to think about it.”
- “It’s kind of morbid.”
- “It just makes me cry.”
And it’s true – Good Friday is filled with human experiences any healthy person would prefer to avoid. There’s pain, torture, cruelty, sadness, loneliness, abandonment, doubt, and fear.
Good Friday recognizes that pain – physical, spiritual and emotional – is a part of human life. This is universally true – every person you meet, regardless of culture, race, or economic status – has experienced pain and loss. Remembering that fact might allow us to bridge the gap between ourselves and our fellow life-journeyers. Maybe it could increase our compassion for one another.
Good Friday reminds us that sorrow is part of life.
Good Friday looks honestly at those times when evil seems to prevail.
God Friday confronts us with times when God seems absent.
As Christians, we know this is not the end of the story. We don’t have to stay in sadness. We are not required to dwell permanently on thoughts of death.
But neither should we ignore it. As tempting as it is to simply skip over the hard part of our story in our rush toward Easter morning, it is good to pause on this reflective day.
- Perhaps we will think about someone who is sad and reach out to them
- Maybe we will reflect on our own sadness and be willing to accept help or support
- We can mourn a loss, knowing that our tears are precious in God’s sight
- We can rely on God’s promise to be with us, even in the valley of death
- We might lament or take time to consider what makes us afraid or lonely. We can lift up our prayers.
Jesus suffered. He cried out to God in his pain.
Good Friday gives us permission to pray brutally honest prayers.
Finally, Jesus entrusted himself, body and soul, to the One who created him. As he died, he said, “Into your hands I commend my spirit.” After a bruising end to his life, Jesus was safe in God’s care.
That can give us, even on this sad day, hope that lives on and will never die.