A Good Friday

As days of the week go, Friday gets called all sorts of things. In some offices, Friday’s are called “casual.” Many pastors call Friday “my day off.”

When a holiday falls on a Friday, it’s called “a long weekend.” When I was growing up, Friday was called “payday,” and schools called Friday “game day.”

Friday is the name of restaurant. The day marking the official start of the holiday shopping season is known as “Black Friday.”

Any Friday that falls on the 13th day of the month is called unlucky, while the rest are mostly a day to thank God, because it’s Friday.

And then, there’s that once a year Friday. The one we set aside to remember the death of Jesus on the cross. German speaking churches call it “Mourning Friday,” or “Silent Friday,” or “Holy Friday.” English speaking churches call it “Good Friday.”

No one really knows how Good Friday got its name. Some folks suspect that “God” was somehow changed to “Good,” the same sort of way “God Speed” became “Good Bye.” A lot more folks say that’s is a “Good” Friday, because it’s a “Holy” Friday.  Back in the day, they say, a holy day was known as a good day. You would have wished a “Merry Christmas” by wishing a “Good Tide,” or referred to the Wednesday before Easter as “Good Wednesday,“ and the Friday before Easter as “Good Friday.” A lot has changed since then, but not the mane, which is why we call the holiest of Fridays a “Good Friday.”

Perhaps, that’s just as well.

The Bible says: “God himself was pleased to live fully in his Son. And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. (Colossians 1:19-20)

It’s never a good thing when things go bad between people. When things go bad, grudges are not forgotten; scores are never settled; favors are forgotten; bridges get burned; and friends become strangers. When the wounds go deep; the hurt lingers. When trust is lost; resentment simmers. Things won’t be right, we say, until someone pays.

Good Friday is tragic because Jesus dies. Good Friday is good because Jesus, for nothing but the love of us, dies to put things right. His broken body heals the hurt no soul deserves. His sorrowful passion attends our suffering. His sacrifice settles the score God has with us, and turns enemies into friends. Many, many things went wrong the day Jesus died, and yet all that evil intended for harm, God turned into the best of all Fridays, a day Christ died to save many lives.

Will you make his life be yours?

Will thank God for that Friday, every Friday?