*This is a guest blog from my wife Morgan. She was kind enough to write about her Good Friday experience since I was unfortunately at work during the service*
I’m not a very serious person. As a matter of fact, I’m generally the kind of person you’ll find trying to make light of even the most serious and somber situation. I laugh at funerals. I think I picked up this trait from my mother. For a very non-serious person, Easter is the perfect holiday. Hallelujah! He is risen! I am ready to shout it from the rooftops – but Easter isn’t here yet. Today is Good Friday. It’s a very different sort of holiday.
As Josh has shared with you, we recently started attending an Anglican church so our focus on the Holy Week is a little different this year. I’m 32 years old and this is the first time I’ve really paid careful attention to Good Friday. Sure, I’ve talked about it. I’ve even explained it to people. However, I’ve never gone to a Good Friday service and focused on only the death of Christ, without finishing the story. I’m thankful to St. Matthew’s for keeping things at a pace that helps me contemplate, verse-by-verse and song-by-song what Christ has done for me. The visual of a cross, covered by a black fabric drape, drives the point home.
The Good Friday service this evening was focused on the scriptures where we read about Jesus’ final journey to the cross, his death and his burial. The songs followed in step and helped give a voice to my thoughts. It was a somber service. Not without hope, mind you, but very focused on the matter at hand.
A very dear (and very wise) friend told Josh today to be careful not to “rush” Easter. I think he’s right. Yes, Jesus has risen and I am thankful for that! However, we cannot forget that before he could rise, he had to die. He was beaten and bruised. He was crucified. He died a slow and painful death. His side was pierced and he was laid in a tomb. He was mourned by his friends and his disciples. His mother wept tears for her dead son.
I know it’s more comfortable (especially for us non-serious folk!) to brush lightly over the tough parts and focus on the happy parts. Don’t give in to that temptation. Crucifixion and death are not pleasant subjects, but I think we need to dwell here for a bit. We need to think about what Christ did for us that dark day.
Yes, Easter is coming – but don’t rush it.
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, we pray you to set your passion, cross, and death between your judgment and our souls, now and in the hour of our death. Give mercy and grace to the living; pardon and rest to the dead; to your holy Church peace and concord; and to us sinners everlasting life and glory; for with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”