Is it really though?

revjohn

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Shortly I am off to a sanctuary to lead a gathering of the faithful through our Good Friday service.

We will of course touch on all the bits and pieces that we are called upon to remember and consider.

Personally, I struggle again with the designation of this Friday as "Good." Friends on FB will have already seen earlier musings about the "Goodness" of this particular Friday.

Since I come at the day from a Christian perspective this will probably be a more relevant conversation for those who share a similar starting point.

I do not doubt the testimony of our common Christian faith that the death of Christ is to my benefit. Everyone else who needs to can argue how or why.

I do not doubt the testimony of our common Christian faith that Christ was pure and without sin and fully deserving of being considered "good". Every bit as "good" as God our Creator.

Not to give away the ending overly much I also do not doubt the testimony of our common Christian faith regarding Sunday which opens the door for Friday to be considered "Good."

I still wonder why we didn't choose to label the day "Tragic".

I mean, if I was a good person and somebody thought that it was better they die than me, that would be a noble action. It could also be described as stupid or futile since I am not likely to become better for somebody dying on my behalf because they thought I was somehow worth more than they.

I am not a "good" person. Nowhere near "good" as God, our Creator is "good." On that score, I testify that I fall very short of such a standard. If you won't believe much of what I testify about then at the very least believe that.

So I, wretch that I am, find myself confronted with Jesus, God in human flesh, a much better person than I will ever be going to the cross so that I might be spared the indignity and torment that the cross offers.

How, in the name of all that is holy, is the death of a good man for a bad one a "good" thing?

There is no accounting principle in existence that renders me value added because of the death of a "good" man. Which is the tragedy. The world needs more of him and could do with way less of me. Because, as I have pointed out, on my best days I fall well short of being good. Somedays it is too much of an effort to try being nice.

And yet, I didn't force Jesus to do this, I didn't trick him into doing it. The testimony I cling to tells me that Jesus chose this for the joy that was set before him and that mind-bogglingly I am part of that joy.

A grace I will praise but never comprehend in its entirety decided that I (and not I alone) should be spared a judgment also beyond my ability to comprehend and that this in some way is a "good" thing.

Humbling sure, good . . . I think that is a stretch.

Unless . . .

Unless that action, so long ago, has the power to touch me at my core and help me in some way to be something I am not.

Can I become less? Less of the ungood I see so plainly.

Might I become more? More of the good I so clearly see in Christ Jesus?

Not on my own certainly.

Maybe I am not alone though.

Maybe there is a lingering impulse of good, continuing to ripple outwards from the very heart of me where it first made contact.

And all those earlier Good Fridays maybe they continue to ripple and transform?

Maybe, hard as it is, I am letting go of what I no longer need and becoming something better than I ever was or could have hoped to be?

Clearly, I need more Fridays if that is the case.

At any rate, if that transformation can happen, and this one Friday helps it along in any way.

That alone would be good.

May the grace which holds the cross in place be enough to break into your lives this day and either begin or strengthen ripples of transformation.
 

GordW

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You remind me of words I am about to share in worship (see all 7 reflections here: Good Friday Reflections 2019)
Word #6 John 19:30-34

Reflection:

Counter-intuitively this penultimate word is called a word of Triumph. Triumph, as Jesus says it is finished and gives up his spirit. Does that make sense? Then again this day of a dark ad terrible story is called Good Friday, which also seems a bit counter-intuitive.

Where is the triumphant note in the last breath of Jesus? Some suggest that a better translation is in fact “it is competed” or “it is accomplished”. Do those other verbs say something different? They are all verbs of ending, but the latter two may lead us to that note of triumph.

‘Finished” could just mean an end, but ‘completed’ or ‘accomplished’ suggest work that has been done. There is a strong theological tradition that the work which is completed is the sacrificial death for the forgiveness of sins. This is certainly a possible reading of Scripture. I also think a reading is that the work of Jesus’ life is now finished/completed/accomplished. Jesus has done what ho could to proclaim and bring on the Kingdom of God. The next steps are not his. They may be God’s, they may be those Jesus taught and led, but he has done his part.

Still the only triumph I find in this part of the story, especially if I put myself in the context of not knowing the “rest of the story”, is the triumph of the powers and principalities. The powers that actively work against the Reign of God have won. They have stopped the revolution. “It is Finished” could also be “well we tried, but now we’re toast...”. I wonder what those standing on that hillside understood it to mean?
 

Carolla

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Thanks John - I too have long wondered about the designation of "Good" in association with the day of crucifixion. Appreciate your words ... and now to read Gord's.

These are some of the words shared this morning in my church - written by Andrew King. March | 2018 | A Poetic Kind Of Place
 

Northwind

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Thanks for these thoughts. We didn't get to church today and this is one day I would have liked to have been at St Pauls with @GordW and friends.

Still, it's a day of reflection. My hair has been falling out so today will be the day my head is shaved. Unless I chicken out. I find it fitting that it is happening this weekend where death and rebirth are themes. On Good Friday we despair that all is lost. We learn though that there is hope for renewal. This for me is just transition. There is hope.
 

Mrs.Anteater

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I still wonder why we didn't choose to label the day "Tragic".
Well, I wonder, too. In German, today is called “ Karfreitag” - Kar” being an old word for “grief”.
Catholics, I believe , even talk about entering into the Kar-woche” ( week) between Palmsunday and Karfriday.
 

Mrs.Anteater

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I once heard a sermon about the necessity of having Saturday between Friday and Easter sunday. I would say that all four days belong together. maundy Thursday as the day of community and service, Karfriday as the day of suffering and loss, Saturday as the day of calm and quiet before Sunday as the day of joy. Each step has its place if you want to experience Sunday fully.
 

revjohn

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Well, I wonder, too. In German, today is called “ Karfreitag” - Kar” being an old word for “grief”.
Catholics, I believe , even talk about entering into the Kar-woche” ( week) between Palmsunday and Karfriday.
Thanks for sharing that.

A lot of colleagues in other forums are noting the drive for folk to skip through the passion.

Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday being the preferred bits of the week. Friday seems to be an inconvenience.

I'm not sure if I am genetically drawn towards lament (Scots Presbyterian from the Kingdom of Fife) or if there is something else going on (a deep appreciation of grace).

I will celebrate Easter. Friday keeps me near the cross and I cannot help but sit in the shadow of it and ponder.

Sunday's perspective will make it easier to see the goodness of Friday.
 

paradox3

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A lot of colleagues in other forums are noting the drive for folk to skip through the passion.

Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday being the preferred bits of the week. Friday seems to be an inconvenience.
It always amazes me that Good Friday services are so poorly attended. We had five congregations come together this year to worship and the sanctuary was not even full.
 
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