Good Friday is the day we commemorate one of the most significant historical events on the religious calendar, the crucifixion of Jesus. Calling it good has always been a mystery to me, as it does not really feel or sound good unless you take the time to explain to people the symbolic ramifications of its proposed goodness. A better suggestion for its name is ‘Holy Friday’ which at least carries its own meaning as a spiritual event, placing the significance on its sacred authority which most would understand as a religious festival observed by the devout.
While I am personally grateful for this day I cant help feel sad that this sacred christian event has been lost in translation, demeaned to a holiday weekend with little impact on how people live their lives. Could it be that we have translated the idea of Easter to strictly defining it solely as a moment where the god-man dies in our place for the sins of the world, to secure our eternal salvation ensuring that we do not spend eternity in torment, separated from God?
I am not trying to deconstruct the historical storyline that has been preached for over two millennia, even though I have a different take on eternal destiny, but merely suggest that the importance of Easter has to mean more in the imagination of humanity if it is not going to be lost to superstition.
What if Jesus didn't die to justify some atonement theory, but laid down his life to end a sacrificial system that was never pleasing to the gods, hence killing the notion of a God who is disappointed and angry with humanity? What if Jesus willingly gave up his life because love does that sometimes, proving that no matter how de-humanised we become we can still love in unprecedented ways? What if Jesus died to show us that while death proves we are mortal, resurrection revives the notion of immortality, that we are not just a freak of nature in an evolutionary vortex but image bearers made in the likeness of God who understand eternal life as a current fully lived experience now and forever more.
This a holy festival because it is an invitation to explore my own immortality, the divine perspective of life that is eternal, a love personified in human experience, forever laying down its life for others. Every Easter I must choose to die to the old worn out ways of living and rise up to live in new ways of being.