If you are a working parent (or really, I think if you are anyone in the crazy world we live in today) there seems to be very little time for reflection. I don’t know if we are all really that busy, or if we just have so many more delightful (or non-delightful) distractions that call us away from time to just be and think, but please indulge me today as I carve out some time this morning to write, mainly for myself, about the meaning of an important day in my religion, Good Friday.
For Christians, Good Friday commemorates the day that Jesus was crucified. I have wondered often why Good Friday is called Good Friday, since the event it commemorates is a solemn, horrific event, but a quick jog over to Wikipedia, through the American Heritage Dictionary informs me that when Good Friday was originally named, “Good” had the meaning of “pious or holy.” So, when you substitute in the word “Holy Friday,” it makes more sense.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Christian beliefs, we believe that it was during this week, the week of the Jewish Passover, that Jesus deliberately allowed himself to be arrested and crucified in order to provide redemption for every person’s sins. Easter, which is always the Sunday after Good Friday, is a special day to remember the most important event in all of Christianity, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. Without Good Friday, neither Christmas nor Easter, from a Christian standpoint, would make much sense.
I do wonder, though, whom I would have been if I had been alive during this week in Jesus’ life. (I began thinking about some of these things from a post I read in the blog, “Servant’s Life” by Stacy (at www.servantslife.com) called “Christ and the Cross”). As a modern Christian, I like to think I would have been the one person who stood by Jesus throughout his entire ordeal, knowing with confidence the true meaning of this death, but the wiser part of me knows better.
You see, NOW I have the advantage of knowing the entire story. At the time, the people involved were in the middle of it, and even Jesus’ closest friends and followers were shocked, scared and bewildered by what was going on. Would I have been a follower, scared and bewildered? Would I have been one of the people seeking His death due to what I saw as an intolerable threat to the status quo in the politically torn world of Israel under the Romans? Would I have been one of the people in the streets who didn’t really care what was going on in the temple, the Roman governor’s office or the hill of Golgotha (the place where the crucifixion took place) thinking that what happened up there didn’t affect me? Would I have been someone who believed in Jesus in secret, but not brave enough to speak out for Him or defend Him? Would I have been one of those who mocked Him as He was scourged, suffering, and crucified? Would I have been throwing lots at the foot of the cross for His clothes? These questions are uncomfortable, and I will leave the conclusions I reached (if any) private, but I think it is an important point for me to reflect on.
My other thought about Good Friday is simply how it takes a conscious effort to keep my daughter aware of what this weekend really means – that Good Friday and Easter have a deeper meaning beyond the impending arrival of the Easter Bunny (although we participate in that with glee and enjoy it) but about something deeper and more important. I imagine that other parents in other religions also have to work to help their children understand the meaning of important events in their religions. It is not inappropriate to take this small moment of reflection to evaluate my efforts in this area, too. However, my conclusions I will keep private.
However solemn Good Friday is, the main point of Easter is love and hope. So, whatever events you are or are not celebrating this weekend, I wish for you to experience both. Thank you for your indulgence, and I hope each of you have a wonderful weekend, and a Happy Easter!