Friday, April 14, 2006

"Good" Friday?

I have spent my entire life going to church on a regular basis. When I was a kid, it was a part of my parents' life.

As a young person, I was in the process of testing and deciding if this was something that was for me.

And as an adult, I have organized my life around my faith, going so far as to practice a vocation that works with other people regarding living out what they believe.

But throughout this journey, there have often been questions, quandries, and wonderings about various aspects of my tradition (Christianity). One of these has to do with today on the Christian calendar: Good Friday.

I remember as a kid thinking, "How did we decide to call this day 'good'?" As an adult, I can understand how strange it would seem for someone to ask that same question. Good Friday is a day of rememberance of Jesus' torture, crucifixion, and death upon a cross.

Doesn't it seem strange, (or rather twisted or perverted) that we would describe such a grotesque, brutal event as the centerpiece of a day we call "good"?

In one sense, there is nothing good about it.

But is there another way to look at it?

My wife gave me great insight via an analogy. She was pregnant four different times. Three of those pregnancies went full-term. All three of those pregnancies, however, were terribly difficult. She lost a vast amount of weight during all of the pregnancies. She didn't have "morning" sickness. She had "all day, everyday, 24/7" sickness. She was treated for dehydration numerous times. One of her ObGyn's was so concerned, he threatened to hospitalize her for the duration of her pregnancy.

Now think about what I said earlier: she was pregnant four times! Wouldn't you think that after one time she'd say "That's enough! No more!!" I would have. (That gives you an idea how tough I think my wife is.)

I remember single parenting during the last two pregnancies. I would make the breakfast and lunch of the child(ren) home with mom before going to work. I'd come home and clean up, make dinner, get baths run, pay the bills, balance the checkbook (well, at least try to), hold her hair while she puked (but usually it was simply bile, nothing left in her stomach), fall in bed exhausted, and get up the next day to do it again.

Would anyone call these pregnancies "good"?

No. And yes.

"No" because you'd have to possess fewer than 1 brain cell to not know how unpleasant this was for her, especially, and me, to a much lesser degree.

But "yes" it was "good" because out of them we were introduced to our children. They are awesome kids. They're talented, bright, funny, the type of people I'd hang out with if I were their age again. (I never claimed to be objective!)

I think the analogy fits with Good Friday. You have to look at the results. Our statement of faith says that through Christ's death on the cross, God was reconciling the world, healing the wounds, taking upon himself the brokenness, selfishness, and brutality.

Being introduced to a God like this, finding out there is Someone out there like this, is the belief behind the name of this day. Good Friday to you.

Grace & peace.

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