I can’t say that I look forward to this day. In fact, I’ve been dreading it for the past couple weeks.
We get all dressed up, many of us in black, go to church, where it’s all dark, and talk about killing someone I love.
Who looks forward to that?
My church has a pretty gory Good Friday service too. Lots of blood and guts (Just think Passion of the Christ with more emo music and maybe some slasher stuff thrown in). Here’s the promo, but I offer a VERY strong warning about how graphic it is (click here for 17 and older).
So why in the world do I drag myself to this each year?
No, I don’t consider myself a sadist. When you marry a doctor, you tend to like talking about healing, not death and blood.
But on the Christian calendar, this is our Day of Atonement, our day to see our sins and weep and mourn at our folly.
In the darkness of a tenebrae (Latin for “shadows”) service, we recognize that we were the ones who put Jesus up on that Cross. No, it wasn’t a certain people group, nor was it limited to a particular time in place. It was the sinful heart of man that did it, when faced with the perfect son of God.
We all know we’re capable of it. Have you ever been jealous of someone or scorned people who did better than you? Do you want in your deepest, darkest heart of hearts, to see someone sink lower, so you can rise higher? If so, you’ve hammered a nail.
Many Christians fast on this day, and I’ve done so in the past. This year, I can’t for medical reasons, but when I can, I prefer the physical emptiness that accompanies the pain in my heart.
If my standard is my own level of comfort, if my god is my stomach (Philip. 3:19), then today isn’t a good day. It’s a downright bad day. My savior died. I was the cause. All my friends know it. We all feel awful about it. And we’re all wearing very depressing colors.
If my standard is God’s Word and God’s plan, then today is a very good day. Despite my sin, my savior Jesus chose to die for me, even though I was at fault. Praise God my friends know the good news, or I’ll have a chance to tell them about it someday. And even though we feel awful about our sins, we know God himself is up on that cross, dying to take them away.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed (1 Peter 2:24).