Good Friday / Viernes Santo, originally uploaded by victor_nuno. I got to hang out with David and Ali Kidd this afternoon. It was good to hear about their "devotional time" with their children last night and today. David is talking about the gravity of the cross with his kids on this Good Friday. Along the same lines, Henry Zonio offers his reflections. It is a good word.
Growing up in an evangelical church, we never spent much time on the church calendar other than Christmas and Easter. I never really knew what Lent was let alone Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday was simply the day Jesus died on the cross.
Take time to be broken. Take time to mourn. Take time to cry. Take time to be humbled by what Christ did for you on that cross. And dwell there for a while. It’ll make Easter that much more celebratory!
As I got older and broadened my faith experiences and met more people from varied church backgrounds, I began to learn more about the rich traditions that existed in church history. One of them being Good Friday.
My wife pointed this out to me today as she was perusing her Facebook friends’ status updates, and I noticed the same thing: people are expressing well wishings of “Happy Good Friday!” or “What a Wonderful Good Friday!” We, in the contemporary evangelical church, have lost the significance of Good Friday; we miss the point.
Good Friday isn’t about joy. Yes, we are thankful and celebrate the sacrifice Christ made for us. But Good Friday is a time to reflect on how much that sacrifice really cost. It is a time to reflect on the pain and sorrow and agony that accompanied being beaten, abandoned, falsely accused, publicly humiliated and brutally killed. Christ went through all of that for us; God went through all of that for us. Us, who didn’t deserve it…
We don’t like to dwell on sad things. We don’t like to mourn. We don’t like to be broken. We don’t like to cry. But there are times that we need to do just those things, and Good Friday, historically, is the time to do that. I don’t think we can truly appreciate and grasp the enormity of Christ’s death unless we let the gravity of it weigh on us for a time.
As children’s ministers (and as parents), we need to help our children sense this as well. Children need to know in age-appropriate ways that what Jesus went through was cruel and painful and sad. And they do need to understand that he went through all of that so we didn’t have to and so that we could be with him forever. Yes, we bring kids beyond his death to the resurrection when he beat death and sin, but I don’t think we need to be so quick about making that transition sometimes… especially during Good Friday.