Paul Vogeler, Good Friday, 2012
We are having a good Friday service this Friday night at 6:00. Here is a great article about why we celebrate Good Friday.
“Good Friday is a strange contradiction in terms. I can’t imagine referring to a day that memorializes the death of a celebrity or political leader – even an evil one – as “good.” Yet the day that the Savior of the world breathed his last is called “Good.”
Easter is easy to celebrate. It’s the day with the happy ending, the empty tomb, the hope for the future. But Friday is a day of suffering and death. The sky turned black. Jesus’ friends abandoned him. His body was pushed beyond its physical limits as Roman guards gambled for his clothes. “Good,” we say.
The exact origin of the phrase “Good Friday” is disputed, but with a little reflection, it’s not hard to imagine what may have inspired the name. Here are a few possibilities:
“Good” as in the Goodness of God
The cross is simultaneously a revelation of our wretchedness and God’s holiness. There, in the flayed, pierced, mocked, and stabbed frame of Jesus, we see the clearest revelation of what our sins deserve. We also see it inflicted on another, in our place. God turns his wrath upon himself. It’s a glimpse into the profound goodness of our creator, who didn’t spare his Son so he could rescue us.
“Good” as in Good Grief
Good Friday can be good while nonetheless being a day of grief. No matter how we spin the story of the cross, it’s a tragedy. The world wasn’t meant for tragedy and death. When sin entered the world, it began to spin out of control, bringing disease, decay, and suffering to all of us.
It’s tempting to try to avoid that pain, to drown it out with entertainment, gluttony, sex, drugs, and ordinary distractions like busyness with work, and family. Good Friday is a good day because it moves us from denial to acceptance. It asks us to pause and stare at the tragedy of death, seeing the painful impact of sin as the one pure, perfect thing in the universe takes its brunt upon himself. We need to learn to grieve at the cross because it helps us grieve all the pain and sorrow around us. We never suffer alone. We suffer and grieve in the presence and in solidarity with our God, who has endured it all with us.
“Good” as in “It was Good”
When the world was made, God looked upon it and saw that it was good. “Good” in that sense, was a word like “Shalom”, a beautiful Hebrew word that implies peace, wholeness, and harmony. Sin broke that harmony, spreading virally throughout creation.
Good Friday is where the disease of sin finds a profound and surprising remedy. From the cross, God reveals a conspiracy of redemption, turning back the curse and restoring the world through Christ and his church.
We celebrate this Friday because wrath and mercy coalesced at the cross. The tragedy of Christ’s death is a victory, the ultimate victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and hope against hopelessness. We celebrate because apart from the cross, there would be no reason to celebrate anything at all.”
Article by Mike Cosper Worship & Arts Pastor for Sojourn Community Church and the founder of Sojourn Music.