Expecting Easter, Forgetting Good Friday

Holy Week is upon us and it is definitely one of my favorite times of the year. Honestly, it rivals Christmas for me! But even though it is one of my favorite times, it is also one of my least favorite. Yes I have a love/hate relationship with Holy Week (I write more about that HERE).  I’ve struggled with Holy Week because I eagerly and expectantly look towards Easter, but I long to forget about Good Friday. And don’t even get me started on Saturday! But we can’t have the celebration of Easter Sunday without the crushing blow of the cross. It’s so easy forget about Friday when we know that Sunday is coming.

But the disciples didn’t know what was going to take place on Sunday. Sure, Jesus had told them time and time again that he would raise from the dead, but let’s be honest, the disciples had no clue he was being literal! The disciples could not forget about Friday and look to Sunday. Friday was not yet “good” for the disciples. Friday was frightening. Friday was devastating. The disciples watched their teacher, friend, and Lord hang on a cross. Dying…

“At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sebachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)…With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.”

Pilot released Jesus’ body to Joseph of Arimathea, and he was wrapped in linen and placed in a tomb. Jesus was dead.

In modern terms, he’d been embalmed, placed in a coffin, lowered six feet down, and the dirt had already filled in the remaining hole. See why I want to skip this part? But to skip straight to Easter is to rob the story of its power and to rob me of understanding the cost of my sin and salvation.

So this year I’m committed to walking through Holy Week as the disciples did. Step by step, event by event. Because the truth is that Good Friday’s sorrow, makes Sunday’s celebration that much sweeter. We can’t begin to comprehend the depth of Jesus’ love until we consider the cross. We can’t understand God’s relentless pursuit of relationship with us until we stop to ponder the cost. We can’t truly  rejoice in the resurrection until we take in the tomb.

So this year, take in Holy Week moment by moment. Wait to sing songs of joy and celebration until Sunday and choose into the smaller selection of Good Friday’s songs of repentance and personal reflection. Yes, expect Easter, but don’t forget Friday.

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