Holy Week begins with Palm Sunday, also known as Passion Sunday, and focuses on the events leading up to the arrest, suffering, and death of Jesus on “Good Friday.” Technically, Easter morning begins a new week and is sometimes referred to as the “eighth day.” Easter is the climactic point in the gospel narrative, but Good Friday is the climactic moment of Holy Week and of the season of Lent.
Good Friday is “good” because of what God through Christ has provided for the world in the Cross. It would be appropriate to say that Friday is only “good” because it is seen through the “lens” of Easter resurrection. Most worship services that occur on Good Friday are services that draw attention to the trial, beating, and crucifixion of Jesus. Often, the service ends in darkness and silence as a way of trying to capture the disappointment of the disciples at the death of their leader. Good Friday is followed by Holy Saturday which is meant to be a day of stillness, quiet, and anticipation.
Here at First Church, these elements and emotions are presented in a very meaningful and reflective service on the evening of Good Friday at 7:00 pm. As one writer put it: “On Friday, we recall the crucifixion and death of Christ by again attending to the narration of events. Here the reality of his death is encountered, a death we remember also at the beginning of Lent on the day of ashes. But now we experience the anguish of our own sin and evil intensified, and our own complicity in his betrayal.” [Handbook of the Christian Year, Abingdon Press, 1986, 107-8].
The Church faces the danger of going from the celebration of Jesus entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead on Easter without experiencing in meaningful ways Jesus’ death on the Cross. Good Friday is the day that stands to prevent us from making that dangerous mistake.