Is Good Friday Good?
Even at the risk of sounding like a terrible Christian, I will say it. Good Friday always feels heavy, as it should. My intense empathy can make dwelling on the pain and suffering Jesus endured hard to bear. I often leave services or dwelling on Good Friday with immense guilt and heartache. It can even feel a bit hopeless. But, on this side of the resurrection, there is no hopeless Good Friday. I have had seasons where the sorrow and suffering and waiting of Saturday deeply resonated with my heart. There have been other seasons where the incredible power and good news of the Resurrection fueled my faith. There has been nothing about Good Friday that has deeply resonated with me, other than reinforcing guilt and shame that are rarely distant from my heart to begin with.
Last night, I attended my first Good Friday service since before the pandemic. I was always the one to stay at home with babies. Honestly, many times this felt like a relief. This year, we decided to bring our little ones. I brought them right before the service and somehow we ended up in the front. Not how I pictured this gamble of bringing Ella and Charlie going. I only heard the Scripture readings with one ear, the other ear fielding questions, hearing Star Wars facts and deciphering comments I could barely understand. I only could grasp 10% of what was taught between bathroom breaks and picking up dropped toys. I only sang some of the songs as both kids wanted to be held by me.
My participation in the service was minimal and mainly trying to minimize the distraction we were to others. And yet I left the service with a different word, love. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by guilt, I felt overwhelmed by Jesus’ love. His love for me when I’m distracted, when I’m not engaged, when I’m there in presence only. His love for my kids when they are distractions, when they have a limited understanding of the gravity of this day or when they have no idea what this day means and why they need to be quiet. His love is the headline. On Good Friday, so much is on display, yet it all highlights His love. We all need to know the power and Hope of the resurrection, especially in seasons of sorrow and suffering. Easter Sunday is a beautiful reminder of the reality of these. Just as much, we need to know, really know, the love of Jesus on display on Good Friday. Regardless of what you’re facing or feeling or experiencing. Regardless of your interpretation of your life’s circumstances. Even if you feel alone, forgotten and overwhelmed. Even if you can’t see it. Even if you are a pastor’s wife who has dreaded Good Friday. You are loved. Deeply loved.