What a horrible name for Friday of Easter week – “good.”
Dark? Yes. Sad? Yes. Violent? Absolutely!
I think I prefer the German name for it: Karfreitag, or “Sorrowful Friday.”
Easter approaches in the shadow of the devastation of “Good” Friday and the stupefying silence of Holy Saturday. It has struck me year after year as I tried to write an uplifting message for Easter that we need to understand the journey of Friday, Saturday, Sunday; we need to understand the tension they represent, if we want to understand the fullness of the promise in Easter.
Easter is a story about love winning.
It isn’t about a violent sacrifice being needed.
It isn’t about a bloody price that had to be paid.
Easter tells us love wins.
Easter is a response to “Good” Friday. It is a response to the hurt and the loss and the pain and the grief and the death of the “Good” Fridays of life.
All of Jesus’ teachings foreshadow this moment. His teachings on love and grace and forgiveness inform the moment that is “Good” Friday. He points to the violence and hate and aggression that will happen saying, “No one has a love greater than this – when they lay down their life for their friends.”
Easter is also a response to “Holy Saturday” (or what I call “silent Saturday”). I imagine that even on Saturday, the words “It is finished,” which Jesus spoke from the cross, were still ringing in the ears of those who loved him and followed him.
“It is finished.”
It was over. The chaos of yesterday – over. The hope for tomorrow – over.
Saturday was a day of silence and not knowing. A day of grief and despair. Hope had been hung from a tree and sealed away in a tomb.
It’s an experience with which I can identify. I think we all can.
Life brings with it tough times. Tough times can bring depression and fear and aloneness – a false sense of a life lacking in love.
But, Easter reminds us that, as Tony Campolo once preached, “Sunday is coming.”
You see, when we say “Sunday is coming,” it tells us something very important – it tells us love wins.
Even when facing the difficult parts of this life: the hurt and the loss and the pain and the grief and the death – Easter reminds us that: “Sunday is coming!”
Even in the silence, love was waiting for us, reaching out to us, ready to roll away the stones which entomb each of us.
In the darkness of my life’s Fridays, in the silences of my life’s Saturdays, I try to hold on to Easter – because Easter reminds us that… “Sunday is coming.”
They belong together. The love of Easter shines a beam of hope into the darkness of Good Friday and into the Silence of Saturday.
We all have Good Friday moments – times when the hurt and the loss and the pain and the grief and the death seem too much to overcome. We all have Saturdays of silence when we feel lost and alone and somewhat abandoned. We all have those days in life, but we must never forget: Easter reminds us that “Sunday is coming.”
It reminds us that love does win – that hope is never lost.
When we are shut away in our tombs of doubt and hate and aloneness and forsakenness, when the stones of judgement and greed and violence shut us in and cut us off, we can hold on to Love.
A love that shines in its fullness on Easter. A love that overcomes not just hurt and loss and pain and grief – but overcomes death itself and promises us that not only do we not have to be alone in the midst of them but that there is new life at the end of them.
That is the Easter story.
Easter is story of a love that rolls away the stones which entomb us in life.
You see, Easter reminds us… “Sunday is coming.”