Friday, April 14, 2006

Why This Friday Is Good

My mother was a devout Catholic. I grew up in a household where meat was nowhere near our plates on Fridays (every Friday). Mami would say, "We give up meat because Jesus died on a Friday. A small sacrifice to remember a big one."

Good Friday was a big deal to Mami. She wore black. She covered her head. She prayed. She mourned with music. Back when I was a Catholic School kid in the Bronx, our parish had a solemn procession on Good Friday, with candles, with dirge-like hymns, with a big statue of a mournful Virgin carried by men, with women whose heads were veiled by mantillas (lacy sort of scarf things) and whose faces drooped with sorrow. Their rosaries clicked along with the slow rhythm of the march.

I forget the other details. I just know it was a big deal and I enjoyed the feel of a unified community of believers. All these men and women and girls and boys all of a mind as they progressed through the dirty streets of a working class, drug-blighted neighborhood, commemorating one of the greatest events in the history of history.

(In two days, we commemorate another great even in that Triad of Astounding Happenings. You have to wait until Christmas for the third.)

I wish we Protestants did more of that. (I've been Evangelical since 1975, Southern Baptist since 1981.) I don't mean venerate Mary or get all graven image-y. I mean take to the streets in huge masses and mourn that our sins required the death of the Son of God. And then take to them again to celebrate with dancing in the streets and with song and with timbrels (if you can find some) and trumpets that the Son of God triumphed over death.

Today is Good Friday. God's Friday.

My Mami is gone nearly two years. (Oh, gosh, I'm gonna lose it again.) My Papi spent six years in his crypt alone until Mami joined him. (Gimme a tissue!) Unlike Jesus, they're still waiting for their day of arising. But because there was a Good Friday, there was also a Day of Resurrection, and there will be another such day yet to come.

I love having this hope. I hold it more tightly than I would a handful of rubies.

Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.

Today we remember that Christ has died--horribly, painfully, with mockers and scoffers around him, with his disciples in hiding but for a handful, John and his beloved Mother, and some of the women. Perhaps others that are unnamed.

Blood poured out. The price required by a Holy God. The atonement made. The sacrifice lamb of the Passover killed, but not broken (according the prophecies).

Take time today to ponder that death. To read the gospels. To read Isaiah 53. To thank the One who died that you might live.

"For He was cut off from the land of the living;
For the transgressions of My people He was stricken."
Isaiah 53:8b

"Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, 'Father, into your hands I commit My spirit.' Having said this, He breathed His last."
Luke 23: 45-46

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him."
Romans 5:8-9

And if you aren't covered in that blood, if you haven't been washed clean under the hot rush of it, then come, kneel at the foot of the cross and be made new.

Every day is a good day for that.


Bonnie Calhoun said...

What a lovely sentiment and expression of your love for our Savior.

Have a happy and blessed Easter!

Mirtika said...

Thanks, Miz Bonnie. I hope your holy days lifted your spirits to the skies, babes.