Ruminations on Good Friday

Good Friday - Crucifiction -001
“Stations of the Cross: Jesus and Simon of Cyrene,” by Giandomenico Tiepolo, (1745-1749)

For most of us, any Friday is automatically a good Friday.

But today is actually Good Friday.

I used to wonder why it is called “Good Friday”, when it was the day upon which Jesus was crucified, suffered, and died for our sins.  It marks the lowest point in the Christian calendar.  It therefore can seem a little contradictory to call it Good Friday.  It certainly led to a good thing (i.e. Jesus’ Resurrection), but it is still a day of deep mourning and sadness among Christians.

So why, then, is it called Good Friday?

The simple explanation for why it is called Good Friday is because, back in antiquity, “good” was used as a synonym for “holy”.  So, it was another way to say Holy Friday, or to refer to the Friday in Holy Week.

Of course, as with most things in life, it can be a little more complicated than that, so if you are still curious, you can go read an excellent article about it at this link.  There is something there for linguistics nerds, as well as those who are history buffs, or even the merely curious.

Another thing that always struck me as a little strange about Good Friday is hearing people wishing other people a “happy Good Friday.”  As I said earlier,  it is a day of great sadness and mourning among Christians, and so it is a little incongruous to wish a Christian a “happy” Good Friday.

On the other hand, I’ve never known a single Christian who was offended at someone wishing them a happy Good Friday.  I think everyone knows the spirit in which the phrase was meant.  How can you be upset at someone who is wishing you happiness?

And modern day Christians have the benefit of something that the followers of Christ in his lifetime did not have.  That is, we know how the Crucifixion and death of Jesus turned out.  We know the story has a happy ending, and so we are more than willing to accept the good will and good wishes of others for a “happy” Good Friday.  We, in essence, have read the “spoilers”.

And so I will wish all of you a very happy Good Friday and I will tell you confidently and without hesitation that there are better days ahead of us.

And one day in particular.

 

17 comments

    • Thank you! I really appreciate that.

      And you’re so right. I always appreciate it when people wish me well or have a kind word to say. We live in a very cynical and snarky world. A kind word really stands out nowadays.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Suzanne! Happy Easter to you, too! I hope you and your family had a wonderful Easter weekend and that you got plenty of sunshine and Easter candy.

      And you’re right about the weather on Good Friday as opposed to Easter morning. I’ve noticed that myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I won’t spam your comment thread with a link, but I wrote something for our church’s Good Friday devotional (link is on YouTube if you’d like me to give it to you) that focused on Barabbas and his part in the whole scheme of things. But yes, Good Friday is certainly not good in the traditional sense . . . not immediately good, anyway. But there’s always three days later!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have heard it occasionally, though not very often. Usually it is from a co-worker as we are leaving for the weekend and they will say, “Have a happy Good Friday”, but I think it is almost out of sheer awkwardness. It’s one of those semi-holidays where people just don’t know what to say. But once Good Friday is passed, everyone seems to relax a little bit and just say “Happy Easter!” … which, of course, it is.

      Liked by 1 person

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