What’s So Good About Good Friday?
Here is a day to remember – the day God died.
And in the moment of a phrase and the breath of a word we have entered into Mystery.
Pause with me and consider the astonishing story that reveals a love that stuns us into silence…
Without a word, the Word, who spoke all things into existence, suffers treachery and betrayal and calls him friend.
Scandalized and seething with malevolence, the frenzied mob screams for his blood, even while the One who is Love sees the absolute loveliness of the very ones who lust for his death.
The excruciating, gratuitous torture the Son of man endures that day unmistakably and conclusively reveals that the God above all submits to the most heinous evil his loved ones can imagine to do upon him.
Sneering with contempt and hissing venom in their taunts, they mock the One who is before all things, “Save yourself…. if you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”
So other-centered is his love that even while bearing the scorn of his little ones, his heart breaks, as does his silent suffering. For bordering on suffocation, the One who breathed life into everything, gasps for air and lovingly prays, “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
And the Father already has.
The nails driven into his flesh conclusively banish any and all religions that would have us believe the God who creates and upholds the cosmos by love, is in some other part of himself one who would destroy.*
The divine community we call God, is not conflicted about what is happening. We may be, but they are not. They do not seek to pardon us; They will to save us.
The only thing God cares to destroy is sin.
What kind of metaphysical juggling is it to frame this staggering spectacle of love into some mere cosmic judicial balancing of the scales? Does God command us to not murder, then murder his One and Only beloved Son?
There is nothing in the heart of the Living God that needs to be appeased.
The Lamb slain before the foundations of the world is Light. There is no darkness in Him. The Father who is father to all, over all, through all, and in all, is Light. There is no darkness in Him. The Spirit who communes, comforts, and unites all things is Light. There is no darkness in Him.
And these Three are One.
The God who is has united Himself to humanity. This is the Incarnation.
And he has graciously gone from deep to deeper; entering into the darkest room of our soul, where, in our complete blindness we strike out in fury, pounding nails into his flesh and murder the very One who is Life and Light to us. And it is right there, in his union with us at our worst, that the lover of our souls heals the souls that he loves.
Indeed… this was a good Friday.
* Thank you Kenneth Tanner