Reformation Lutheran Church A Congregation of the ELCA

Good Friday, April 14

“Good” Friday?

A question frequently asked about this day revolves around why we call this day “good.” It is a valid question. A mystery, you might even say. Sad. Scary. Heart-breaking. These are all words that seem more appropriate for this day when we stop to remember and reflect on the death of Jesus. At first glance, “good” certainly doesn’t seem right.

It is one of the greatest of all the mysteries of God. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, dies a painful and gruesome death - for us. And yet the cross, an instrument of death, becomes for us a symbol of life. Of new life. For me and for you.

For those of us living today, that may not seem like such a mystery. While we may not be certain exactly how it all works or which atonement theory we think best represents the why and the how, we believe and trust that we have been saved by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

But think for a moment about the original followers of Jesus - those who had eaten with him, learned from him, witnessed his miracles. When Jesus was put to death, there was absolutely nothing about that day that his disciples would have considered “good.” They had to wait until Easter Sunday morning to even begin to consider that anything about Friday was good. And even then, I’m not certain they would have been able to see it that way.

The final verse of one of my favorite hymns encapsulates what today, Good Friday, is all about:

“Holy God, holy and living one, life that never ends,
You show your love by dying, dying for your friends,
And we behold you living”

(ELW 637, Text: Susan Briehl, ©2000 GIA Publications).

It is the greatest of mysteries. Christ shows his love for us by dying for us, and yet we experience Christ living - alive and among us, giving us life.

Rev. Kristin Woelk
Associate Pastor

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