2018-04-03 - Pondering on Good Friday
As an adult, particularly, I have wondered why this day just before Easter weekend is called Good Friday. I think it is natural to wonder about it, due to the fact the murder of a loved one is generally not viewed as a definition of good, or any of the synonyms that could be connected to the word. Growing up Good Friday meant we got out of school early, and that seemed pretty good. Are there any other thoughts within the definition that could be construed as good in a way we have not fully considered, though? I have learned more about the pictures of sculptures (Stations of the Cross) representing the different stages from the time Jesus entered Jerusalem and was then arrested, taken to the Roman Governor, and finally sentenced to death by him - and lastly, executed. Friday services with the inclusion of these images and reparation prayers are done by a few different denominations (Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran and Roman Catholic) to honor Jesus’ sacrifice for our salvation within God’s plan. While I have often considered traditions done for the sake of something other than God’s will imprudent, I have come to realize so many like this may also contain truth I had yet to weigh, because God knew I was not quite ready to receive it - at least not in the way I truly need to receive the truth. Ponder, if you will, the implication of each part of the stations listed below, and how it could connect to the synonym for “good” after it. Perhaps use those images and thoughts for contemplation and prayers of reparation to a God who gave it all for us to live.
I found a note from my father the other day, when I was cleaning up an area for me to do my writing and study. The note was once enclosed with a book that he hoped would be spiritually uplifting for me. He seemed drawn to this particular author due to the fact he felt most messages he had experienced in church were not of a positive nature. The perplexity I have with the idea that truthful messages of God should invariably be uplifting, is that I know that not everything I need to hear is something that will necessarily feel good. It still, however, might be good that I hear it. It is a matter of balance, and while as mortals, we may not necessarily see good in the death of God’s son, it was necessary. Because like the sun and moon, land and sea and all living things God created, the sacrifice of Jesus is also seen by God as good in the grand scheme of things, for the fulfillment of his promise to us. I am quite sure that liking had nothing to do with sacrificing his only son. In Genesis’ creation, the etymology of good is explained (in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance) as coming from the prime root (2895 Hebrew) word tomb to do or make good in the wildest sense. This is a transitive verb, which is a verb that expresses action with an object (English Grammar and Composition: Warriner & Griffith, 1973). The subject transfers the action to an object, and in this case, God is transferring his mercy and redemption to us by way of Jesus. Our acknowledging his sacrifice to us, in real and meaningful ways, is giving honor to our exceptional Father by also showing him we are forever grateful. We need to face the fact that not every aspect of such an unworthy gift should feel good to us. I’ve heard many times that when I, or someone I love, has been through a trauma, that facing up to it - and finding ways to express how it has affected us, is the healthiest way to move forward. God does not want me to spend my life ever mournful, only focusing on one of the emotions he has given me. Yet there are times when I should pause, reflect, and grieve. There is a time for everything. And when I accept Jesus as my Savior, I am making his loss personal to me. Today I remember how a day changed everything, for me and anyone else who chooses to receive the gift. Joy will come in the morning, but today I praise God for the gift he gave me, his son’s life for mine.
Stations of the Cross on Good Friday
The standard set from the 17th to 20th centuries has consisted of 14 pictures or sculptures depicting the following scenes (taken from Wikipedia.com) * and in parentheses, a word connected as a synonym in some way to that station.,
“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.“ (Isaiah 53:3-4 NIV)
All scripture references from King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted