She asked me why we call it “Good Friday.” Why “good?”
Why “Happy Easter” or “Happy Resurrection Day?”
What makes this so “happy?”
How could we celebrate this death, this sacrifice, this sadness? We should be so much more serious and sad, she tells me.
Like the disciples who mourned, like Mary Magdalene crying beside the tomb, surely we should remember this day with tears.
This she asks in confusion.
On Thursday, we ate the bread and drank the cup.
That’s what Jesus said that night in the upper room with disciples scattered around:
“This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19 NIV).
So, we remember.
She is thinking of grape juice and crackers, a snack when you’re hungry, but I tell her it’s more than that.
And she asks, why do this? Why talk about blood–so gross, so morbid and earthy?
It’s too corporeal for holiness and for the sacred places, the striking red against the purity of the righteous life.
I think today about the remembrance of it all and why it matters.
Today is Good Friday.
Last year, Good Friday was also the eight-year anniversary of my dad’s death.
So I sat with my daughter brushing her hair and telling her about my dad: little remembrances here and there and what makes that day special.
Then what makes this a day holy and set apart from other days? Why Good Friday?
Because there’s beauty in the remembrance. There’s honor and power in recollection.
I think this about my dad. Talking about him makes his life real here and now after death. It makes it more tangible, relevant.
These daughters of mine who never knew him and only see the pictures in a photo album, mostly after he was sick and didn’t look like the dad I remember, what other way for them to know than for me to tell?
And you just don’t want the anniversary of his death to slip by forgotten because it would be forgetting him.
Is it any different remembering our Savior in this season?
In German, they don’t call this day Good. They call it Mourning Friday.
But isn’t that the beauty of this day? That even as we remember Christ’s death, even as we talk about the cross and give it true attention, even as we drink the cup so apt to stain white and we eat the bread broken, even as we tell our children the stories and we say:
This is what He did for us. Not some pristine ritual, not something pure and clean. It was bloody and painful. It was death. It was hard. And sacrifice like that was suffering.
It wasn’t pushed on Him because He was too weak. Jesus “made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:7-8 NIV).
This is what He chose to do for us because of love so great.
Love so good. Love so amazing, so divine…
Even as we say this and tell this to our children, the beauty of remembering the cross isn’t just the Mourning of our Savior, it’s the Good News that the resurrection came.
I tell her remembering is how we worship, how we give thanks, how we honor His gift to us.
And that gift wasn’t just a trinket wrapped in a package with a bow.
It was good. Truly good. The greatest gift at the highest price.
And the resurrection; that’s our joy. What better reason to be happy than to know the cross was not the end and the tomb didn’t destroy our hope?
Because of this, we have life everlasting.
And because of that day, we can see any crisis as an opportunity for Him to shine with resurrection power, to resurrect the dead, to defy all expectations and trample all over the circumstantial evidence by doing the impossible.
Yes, this remembering is good.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2014 Heather King