Good Friday is such a strange description of the most horrible day our Lord endured on our behalf. Good? Certainly good as in good for us. But never let me take for granted the cost of Good.
I grew up in a Protestant church that celebrated Easter but didn’t go through the fullness of Lent or Holy Week, as they do in the higher liturgical churches. After I was married, I went to a liturgical church and for the first time, went through the desert of 40 days of Lent, and the culmination of Holy Week with Maundy Thursday and the washing of feet, the stripping of the altar, the prayer vigil, and the three hours of praying in church on Good Friday as Christ hung on that cross for me. It was never so meaningful but for the Cross before me. I need to feel the agony and the cost before I can feel the victory of His most Holy and magnificent gift to us.
Let’s not be too quick to say Happy Easter. Here we are at the holiest week of our Christian calendar, and I can’t help but think how quickly we want to celebrate. We want the guilt removed and a chance to party. We want to say Alleluia again and mean it. We want to sing Hosannas and He is Risen. But can we wait and go through the fullness of the price before we reap the reward? Can we do a little soul searching and take on His servant’s heart washing another’s feet? Can we share in His suffering just a bit, to know a greater victory?
May we never forget the cost of His Love, the price paid that we may boldly stand before Him. The celebration will come soon, but can we not watch with Him just an hour in the Garden of Gethsemane?
“Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)
I love Him even more.
“Olive’s Brow,” William B. Bradbury, 1853
‘Tis midnight, and on Olive’s brow
The star is dimmed that lately shone;
‘Tis midnight, in the garden now
The suffering Savior prays alone.
‘Tis midnight, and from all removed
Emmanuel wrestles lone with fears
E’en the disciple whom He loved
Heeds not his Master’s grief and tears.
‘Tis midnight, and for others’ guilt
The Man of Sorrows weeps in blood;
Yet He Who hath in anguish knelt
Is not forsaken by His God.
‘Tis midnight, and from ether plains
Is borne the song that angels know;
Unheard by mortals are the strains
That sweetly soothe the Savior’s woe.