I'm passionate about Good Friday. I get really worked up about it and have to climb down off my metaphorical soap box at least once every Easter season. I'm so crazy about it that I just searched my archives, certain that I'd already given a lecture or two from this very platform. But I couldn't find anything. Which left me feeling a bit baffled.
They say that churches get the Christmas and Easter crowds. As a pastor's wife, I am thankful that people will at least walk into a church on these days. On Easter Sunday, I love to see faces rarely seen. This isn't directed at the sporadic church visitor or those who attend a quarter of the time. This is for the believer, the engaged Christian, the regular attender.
I flat out don't understand why people come to church on Sunday morning to celebrate the risen Savior if they don't first stare His hideous death in the face. It confuses me that so many remember the morning that Mary went to the tomb and saw the stone rolled away if they don't contemplate that it first rolled tightly into place, sealing in their crucified Lord. I can't fathom forgetting to walk the Way of Grief or brushing over a beaten King, a flogged Savior. I can't imagine traipsing over Friday as if it wasn't my sin that slammed nails into His wrists and His feet.
Good Friday is about remembering when Perfection bled. It's about being a woman, prostrate at the foot of the cross and a jeering crowd member all at once. It's about how that was my Savior and my sin was nailed to His cross. He was buried and that was that. Despite everything He said, no one knew that anything else was coming. Friday was it.
Yet we gloss over all of that because it was ugly and painful and we hate to examine our own hearts. We skip it in preparation of Sunday. We forget about it because we're ironing the Easter clothes, hiding the eggs, filling the baskets. We are so eager to announce that He is risen, indeed, that we forget where He is risen from.
He is risen from the dead.
From the dead. This week, do not forget the events that led to His death. Don't forget what He triumphed over. Find a church with a Good Friday service and attend. Stare His crucifixion in the face. Then, on Sunday, celebrate everything that this faith represents. Celebrate a risen Lord. A Lord who conquered death and then went to prepare a place for you.
Come awake, come awake, come and rise up from the grave!