A very small taste of Good Friday

by Kristin on April 2, 2010

in Belief, doubt & hope

Photo by David M. Goehring

I don’t think I’m qualified to write a post about Good Friday.

It’s not that I didn’t go to seminary or anything like that (although I am lacking in that department). I just really don’t know how to feel about Good Friday, or what to say.

It has confused me ever since I was a little girl. I never felt like I was feeling what I was supposed to feel—the gratitude, the sadness, or the overarching sense of victory and joy. Instead, I used to think I was supposed to act morose the whole day, walking around without a skip in my step or even a twitch of a smile on my face. (I also thought I wasn’t supposed to EVER put another book on top of my Bible which sat on my dresser. I have no idea where these ideas came from.)

As an adult, every time I think I have an angle on Good Friday that makes sense in my heart and in my day-to-day world, I see how it’s flawed and tangled and incomplete.

I did have an idea for today’s post. I’ve been mulling over it for days, working it out in my head. A couple of days ago it seemed like a great plan. What I wanted to do was rail against a quote I came across this week from a Protestant leader. It made me so angry, I wanted to shout  “That’s not what Jesus died for! He didn’t die so that we could have the right to stand in judgment against each other!”

But then I had to ask myself, did Jesus die so that I could spread anger and divisiveness? I believe the things that make me sad and angry are important, and I even believe I am supposed to do something with them, not just hold them inside. But I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to lash out.

It’s more likely that Jesus died so I can recognize and celebrate the new creation that has sprung forth in my own life.

It’s more likely he died so I can have conversations with individuals who might be like me in many ways, but certainly don’t see everything exactly like me.

It’s more likely he died so I can see the pain so many people are walking around with—so I can have an openness and compassion for it, and can offer love and hope in the face of the hurt.

There. That’s something.

I have a feeling it’s just the tiniest sliver of what the whole of Good Friday is about, but it feels good and true, so I will start with that.

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  • http://violetinthemiddle.blogspot.com Violet

    Sounds like a great start to me. The longer I live, the more I walk with God, the deeper my conviction that it IS all about acting and reacting with love and compassion and an open heart and mind.

    I think today is the first Good Friday when I have felt in any real way the weight and the joy in the sacrifice Jesus made for us. I’m not quite sure what to do with it. And that’s ok.

  • Cheryl

    It’s not so surprising that our angles on Good Friday are flawed and tangled and incomplete–after all, that’s what we are, right? Although I understand intellectually the love that led Jesus to die for me, I know I’ll never really be able to fathom its depth or complexity. I think that’s part of why I, like you, don’t really know how to act or how to talk about Good Friday. Everything I think, everything I could say, would fall short. Of course, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t talk about it. :)

  • Trina

    Thank you for being open and extending your compassion, no matter the reason.

  • http://takingtheyoke.blogspot.com Ray Hollenbach

    If there was ever a day for confused feelings about God and life, Good Friday’s it. His closest friends nearly all ran away while the women in his life followed him to the cross. He uttered seven phrases as he died, and humanity’s been confused about their meanings ever since. He told everyone “this day would come” (not really a direct quote, but you get my meaning) and everyone was flummoxed when the day actually came. If you’ve captured even a sliver of what Good Friday’s about it seems to me you’re near the head of the class. Peace.

  • http://www.inamirrordimly.com Ed Cyzewski

    Honest and on the mark. thank you for this. That helps capture the meaning of the cross: generous grace and forgiveness. Have a blessed Easter.

  • http://www.halfwaytonormal.com Kristin T.

    Violet, that’s really exciting, to think you can observe a holiday every year for many years (I guess I don’t know how long you have, but I assume it’s at least several), and then one year feel more deeply about it than ever before. That gives me a lot of hope in the often stale-seeming rituals we go through.

    Cheryl, yes, we are definitely “flawed and tangled and incomplete!” Why is it, though, that so many other people seem to go about “doing” Good Friday like they know exactly what’s up? Is most everyone just pretending?

    Trina, you’re welcome. You are a great extender of compassion, too, you know. :)

    Ray, you’re so right. I guess we’re a lot like all of those people who were with Jesus but confused, in denial, and generally not getting the enormity of what was happening. They really really loved him, and they got to spend time with him in the flesh, but they were still not getting it. Just being able to say to each other “I don’t quite know what to do with this day” somehow lets in a little more light, I think. (Thanks for stopping by—it’s good to “meet” you!)

    Ed, I’m really glad I learned a little bit more about that generous grace and forgiveness this Lent. I could almost feel some of my sharp edges being smoothed away. A blessed Easter to you.

  • http://www.orangeshirtguy.com Dave Thurston

    Hmm, this just makes me wonder . . . what is the greater gift: empathy or compassion. Just realized that (perhaps) God really couldn’t have empathy except while experiencing it while walking with us. Compassion, sure; but empathy, not without His own intervention. Never thought of it that way, thanks much.

  • xmartinj

    Amen sister.