Saturday, March 30, 2013

Good Friday Bypass: Destination Easter!

There’s a reason they call the forty days preceding Christ’s Crucifixion “Great Lent.” There’s a reason they call the period from Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem to His victorious death on the Cross “the Passion.” It is part of the triumvirate of Christian seasons which make possible our redemption. 

Yet, Great Lent and the Passion are the most difficult seasons to enjoy. It is easy to enjoy the Incarnation. It is easy to enjoy the Resurrection. But, to enjoy the Crucifixion? For most of us, that takes work. 

Nevertheless, we ought (eerily) enjoy it as much as we enjoy the other two. For, without Good Friday, Christmas is pointless. And without Good Friday, there could be no Easter. 

Good Friday is hard. We have a natural aversion to death and tend to deal with it at arm’s length. This aversion is further complicated by the fact that the Death of Jesus is a death of One Whom we claim to be the Savior and Redeemer of the world. Beyond our fear of death, the Crucifixion and Good Friday call us to confront that fear compounded by the complexity of the “Death of God.” 

So, we brush past Good Friday. We accept it as part of the reality that Friday must come in the cycle of days. Yet, do we accept it as the day our Lord was Crucified? 

Yes, we all acknowledge that Jesus was crucified. Yet, many times it seems like a passing thought. I mean, we’ve changed versions of the Nicene Creed to read: “He suffered death, and was buried,” or “He suffered and was buried,” while older versions emphasized that “He suffered, died and was buried.”* As I explain to my son, the importance for this three-way division is clear: Jesus did not simply suffer death. Neither did He simply suffer, being buried without death. Jesus suffered. Jesus died. Jesus was buried.

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