This evening, as I was warming up the choir to sing Humble Cross by Joel Raney in our Good Friday service, I explained that Good Friday is probably my favorite service of the year.
Good Friday is more like the life I know.
Christendom spends so much time celebrating victory and the promise of eternal life with Christ that we sometimes forget that we live most of our lives in the “not there yet” places. A close friend or relative dies suddenly in the prime of life and we are left standing at the foot of the cross, looking up, and asking, “What happened?” Our spouse comes home and says, “I want a divorce,” and we look at God and say, “What?”
Did we miss something? Are Christians supposed to live lives full of pain and conflict and the aftermath of sin? Shouldn’t we get a pass or something? Did I get on the wrong bus?
In 1 Corinthians 13:12 Paul says, “We see through a glass darkly,” and in Hebrews 11:39 the writer says, “None of them received what had been promised.” These Scriptures sound more like real life. These Scriptures belong in a Good Friday service.
Don’t get me wrong; hope and the victory Christ brings through the resurrection are the life blood of my faith. But hope and victory mean nothing if you do not need them. Hope and victory are so meaningful because life can seem so hopeless and unconquerable.
On Good Friday I come to Christ with all of my brokenness, knowing that his day ended with him in the tomb. He knows what it is like to be waiting for things to turn around. He knows how it feels to be hurting and looking for a cure. On Good Friday I feel a unique intimacy with his humanity, and I find peace in that closeness, that identification.
He became like me . . . and died like I will . . . which means I will rise like he did . . . and live with him.
Now that is hope. That is true encouragement. I don’t have to pretend life is perfect, because it’s not, and it wasn’t for him. I just know the end will be, and that he is right here with me until then.
How does Good Friday encourage you?