Why a “Good Friday” Service?
On Good Friday we hear the crowd call, “Crucify him. Crucify him!” and we wince. That’s not us. We weren’t there.
Years ago, I asked a counselor, “What is hell?”
His answer rings out in my mind, every Good Friday morning. “Think of hell as knowing and feeling in your entire being, all the pain you have caused in your life time.”
I spoke of Hitler and the crushing weight of pain he would endure.
The counselor shook his head. “How many wars have been fought to put gasoline in your car?” he asked.
I didn’t want to see my role in the world’s pain. None of us do. We close our eyes to the fact that many in the world go hungry in order to support our comfortable life style. We choose to see only our small bag of garbage rather than the mountains of garbage world wide. We ignore the pain given by a careless word of criticism and are ignorant of the ripple effect that word will have for strangers. We do not know, nor do we want to know the pain, the violence, the destruction we have caused in our life time. The little we do know is already more than we can bear.
On Good Friday we read Jesus’ word’s, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” In today’s words: “It’s not about me,” he says. “It’s about these your beloved children. Their fear, their desire for power or love, has taken over. They don’t understand the pain they are causing the world, pain that will last for generations. Please, forgive them.”
We celebrate “Good Friday” each year, not just to be reminded of what we do to bring chaos and destruction in our families and our world, but also to hear Jesus’ words of forgiveness. We have the courage to open our eyes and hearts to understanding the far reaching consequences of even our smallest sin when we are assured of God’s forgiveness. Good Friday tells us that God loves us at our worst. We are forgiven. New life will happen. We can begin again. Easter Sunday is coming.