Good, good friday

A question that I have gotten over the years, and several times in the past week while talking about holy week (even from Ellis this year) is, "why is Good Friday called good? This story is not good."

Oh, how to answer a question like that.  Yes it was terrible.  Evil in its ugliest ways.  But good or bad or sad or terrible Friday, whatever you want to call it, changed our world forever.  See the love, the weight of the sacrifice of Jesus.  Look what happens three days later.  I smile and say, It's the best thing that ever happened to me.

Noel Piper writes: "It is no small thing to proclaim Christ's death, which is what we are doing not just on Good Friday, but every time we eat and drink together the Lord's Supper.  Jesus' suffering is very real to his people who suffer because of their faith.  May we not take our Lord's death for granted.  Our lives depend on it."  How easy it is to read about and remember what happened on Good Friday, then forget and move on.  Hello Easter candy.  After all, going to church costs me nothing.  As an American, I am free to believe whatever I choose, to be baptized, to own a Bible to read, and even to write these words right here today.

Less than a week ago, on Palm Sunday, while we were at church worshipping, children waving palm branches and singing Hosannah, terrorists exploded two bombs at Coptic churches in Tanta and Alexandria, Egypt.   Later that very same Sunday, at an Orthodox Eve of Monday Pascha service, a priest in Cairo delivered a short sermon called "A message to those who kill us".   If you have a few minutes, please watch Father Boules' compelling message.  I linked the 9 minute English-subtitled video below.  You can also find the written text plus video here.  His two sermon points: Thank you and We love you. 

Link to the video here.

May we not be so familiar with the stories of holy week and with Good Friday that we forget how terrible this day was and still is, just how much it means for us, and how people still sacrifice for the death that Jesus died for us. The cross is scandalous and dangerous to our safe, comfortable lives.  Because God meant that terrible Friday for good, there's no mess of ours or loss or pain that God can't make good out of, either.  This week, may we soak ourselves in these stories and in Kenneth Bailey's words, "Rescue truth from the jaws of familiarity."  Good Friday brought us life and hope, neither of which we deserve.  That is good.  

"We thank you because you gave to us to fulfill what Christ said to us: “Behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves” (Luke 10:3). We were lambs; our only weapons: our faith and the church we pray in. I carry no weapon in my hand. We are so grateful that you helped us fulfill this saying of Christ." -Father Boules

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