Good Friday MMVII


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Holy Week. There is little, if anything, I could add to the litany of sermons, music, etc. surrounding this, the most solemn and joyful (on Easter Day, anyway) part of the Christian year, but I will try to come up with something profound. Starting with Palm Sunday (recounting Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem), continuing with Maundy Thursday (recounting the Last Supper and Jesus’ washing his disciples’ feet, the Betrayal, etc.), Good Friday (recounting Jesus’ “Way of the Cross”, Crucifixion, and death), Holy Saturday (recalling whatever it was Jesus was between his death and resurrection - though no special services occur in most places on this day until the evening in which takes place (in Roman, Anglican, Lutheran, and Eastern churches) the Easter Vigil, it being the first mass celebrating the Resurrection, and finally, Easter Sunday: an all-out celebration of the whole point of the Christian faith: God, in the form of a man, sacrificing himself for mankind (I am no fan of “inclusive language”, though I respect and understand the sentiments behind it) and taking the punishment for man’s sins, and, finally, rising from the dead.


Most people, I expect, see Christmas as their favorite holiday. And with the atmosphere of holly, ivy, trees, eggnog, and ho, ho, ho, I can see why. It’s easy to coo at the little baby Jesus in the live nativity scene at the local church while the Hallelujah Chorus rings forth in resplendent glory. It’s a bit more difficult to come to grips with the reality of the jist of Mel Gibson’s light-hearted (ha, ha) The Passion of the Christ.

I also expect that for most people, Christianity is just a bunch of religious ceremonies and a litany of do’s, don’ts, and TV preachers taking money from old ladies. I’m here to tell you that it is not. We must not confuse God’s message of unconditional love with the human messengers that have messed things up so much. God is love, and his love is waiting for you. He will not give you a bowl of cherries (why, I cannot say), but he will give you the bowl.

I heard recently about a prison inmate who did a very dangerous thing. A member of the Crips gang, he got up in front of his mates in the chapel and said to them (this being at a worship service), “I’m laying down my flag…” — the Crips’ way of resigning gang membership. He went to say, “…and I’m raising a new flag for Jesus Christ!” to raucous applause from his fellow prisoners.

One does not just walk away and leave a street gang, and I pray all goes well for that young man. If someone like that (and from what I have heard, in the gang, he held some sort of position of leadership) can do something like that, there must be something to all this God-Jesus-Church-Bible stuff.

Yes, there indeed is. Happy Easter (almost, anyway)

Jeff

Above: The statue of Our Lady of Sorrows (or La Pietà) used during the Good Friday procession, Żejtun, Malta — from the wikipedia.org article on “Good Friday”


One Response to “Good Friday MMVII”  

  1. 1 Harold D. Thomas

    “I also expect that for most people, Christianity is just a bunch of religious ceremonies and a litany of do’s, don’ts, and TV preachers taking money from old ladies. I’m here to tell you that it is not. We must not confuse God’s message of unconditional love with the human messengers that have messed things up so much. God is love, and his love is waiting for you. He will not give you a bowl of cherries (why, I cannot say), but he will give you the bowl.”

    This is the burden for those of us who are “liberal” Christians — not only to proclaim the gospel of love (which we generally do not do actively enough), but to prove that Christianity is not what the Pharisees of our day would have us believe it is. In so doing, we recognize that the Bible is the book that guides and directs us in the art of living in harmony with God. It is not a lawbook or a tool for social control.

    With this post, Jeff, you showed that, as much as you say Holy Week flew by you this year; you were still able to capture its essence.

    Harold

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