Holy Week Meditation: Good Friday

Scripture reading: Psalm 22

I’ve always appreciated rain on Good Friday. It seemed appropriate, like the earth itself was remembering Jesus’s crucifixion with the church and covering itself with grey. The clouds are like a little reenactment of the miraculous solar eclipse we’re told about in the Bible. This morning, at least in my part of the world, it’s actually snowing, but the bare limbs and blustering wind and swirls of grey snow seem to go well with Jesus’s cry from the cross: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

When he said that, he was quoting Psalm 22, using scripture to give vent to his experience. “I cry by day, but you do not answer...I am a worm, and not human...all who see me mock me.” But if that were the end of the story, we could not call today “Good Friday,” even in the older meaning of “good,” holy. It would be the opposite of good in both senses, it would be evil, blasphemous. All we could do would be to try to forget, to run as far as possible from the day God died on a cross.

But it’s not the end of the story. Easter is coming, and its rays peek through even these snow clouds on Good Friday. Its light is what makes Good Friday good, what makes even this grave day a day of somber joy. The psalm does not end in despair, but remembers the faithfulness of God. “He did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted...the poor shall eat and be satisfied...before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and I shall live for him.” Even crucifixion, seemingly even divine abandonment, was caught up in God’s great plan to rescue the world. Today is Friday - and Sunday is coming.

A prayer for Good Friday:

Loving God, your Son willingly endured agony and shame for us. Give us grace to take up our cross and follow him, till at the last we come with him to glory, where he lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

A worship song for Good Friday:

“Well Done, Good and Faithful” by Andrew Peterson

Ways to observe Good Friday at home:

  1. According to Mark, Jesus was hung on the cross at noon and died at 3pm. Consider marking those hours with prayer.

  2. There is a long tradition in the Church of fasting during Good Friday. If it is safe and meaningful for you to do so, consider some form of fasting - either from 12pm-3pm, or for the whole day, or from certain foods.

  3. Join NDPC this evening in our At-Home Good Friday service, which can be found on our website.