Good Friday

What’s the appropriate way of greeting someone on Good Friday?
Other special days are more straightforward:
Happy Easter, Merry Christmas, but this day is different.

Happy Good Friday?
Merry Good Friday?
Have a good Good Friday?

Those all sound odd to say,
Improper ways of remembering a bloody painful murder.
And furthermore the man was innocent. . .
And I wasn’t. . .
And he wasn’t just a man.
And if you scan through all of history,
There is no darker tragedy than when humanity killed God,
No event so lament-worthy.

But clearly the story is more textured.
Cause all Fridays are popular and this one somehow got described as “Good”
Should we say “have a sad Good Friday?”
Or “I hope your day is filled with despair and darkness?”
Those comments completely ignore the context of why he died and what came next:

Jesus didn’t stay dead!

But it is wise not to skip too quickly ahead,
Not to dive into resurrection dancing while our Lord is still dying.
Jesus didn’t have the privilege of fast-forwarding through the painful parts.

And neither did his disciples.
Their hearts shattered, their courage scattered to the wind
And they wondered why they’d wasted all their hope. . .
On a corpse.
Grief. Shame. Anger. Confusion.

This day commemorates wild emotions, incredible tension.
This day is heavy.
It’s thick with glory and grit, sin and spit,
Spirit and sacrifice, pit and paradise
A day where sacred curtains rip apart with earth-shaking significance.
It is a day dense with intense realities.
A day ripe for remembering and pregnant for prayer.
There is extra gravity at play.

It is a weighty day.
Filled with grief and horror as we look in the mirror,
Filled with awe and wonder as we look at his love.

As we sit with the brutality that Jesus stepped into willingly
We need to admit that our rescue required the most extreme of measures.
New advice, new information wasn’t enough for our salvation,
We needed more than a cheerleader or a guide,
God in the flesh actually DIED
Cause there was no other way to bring us home.
This forgiveness was so costly cause there was so much to forgive,
And we live now under the light of a remarkable grace.

And as we trace God’s fingerprints back throughout history,
This moment was prepared so perfectly, foretold in prophecy:
Jesus purposefully pursued this path
And his life was not taken from him.
He gave it.
He gave it in love. Gave it for free.
Gave it fully knowing the darkness within me.
Willingly he went to his death, spent every breath to buy us back.
We don’t lack value in our maker’s eyes!
We are prized so highly, loved so dearly.

Let us yearly and daily remember this glory.
And wholeheartedly enter into the story.
Let us step into freedom and grief,
Guilt and release, forgiveness and justice.
Anticipation. Revelation. Confession.
Companionship in suffering and overwhelming gratitude.
Oh, the magnitude of our God’s generosity!
Truly he is worthy of our praise!

And we haven’t even gazed into the empty tomb,
Haven’t even spoken of resurrection.
It is such good news that our God knows dark valleys and mountaintops.
And he walks with us through both.

I can’t say I know the answer of how to greet someone on Good Friday.
But either way, they gave this Friday the right name,
Cause it really is really GOOD.