What’s So “Good” About It?

From a conversation with Anna earlier this week:

“Dad, why do we call it ‘Good Friday?’ What the people did to Jesus wasn’t good at all.”

“No it wasn’t.”

“Well then why do we call it ‘Good?'”

“Well it’s a very old name, and it originally meant ‘great’ as in ‘very important.’ The Orthodox still call it ‘Great and Holy Friday.'”

“Oh, okay.”

She paused for a moment, deep in thought.

“Well it was good that Jesus died for us,” she added.

“Yes it was Anna.”

“And the he loves us.”

“That too.”

Not quite a Five Minute Friday, but sometimes you don’t even need five minutes to say what’s important. All you need is a few moments with a thoughtful nine year old.

Five Minute Friday

And another two-for-one for Holy Week …

Cheerleaders of Faith

It is Finished

Rood Screen

Photo: Watts and Co.

Every Friday is a commemoration of the Crucifixion. That is why Catholics traditionally abstained from meat, why prayers and readings on Fridays are usually penitential, and why many go to confession or confess their sins privately to God on Fridays. It is the one day each week when we remember how much Jesus sacrificed for us on the cross.

“It is finished.”

Nothing is finished without something else beginning. Just as the dawn of each morning follows the dusk of each evening, just as Sunday follows Friday, the Resurrection follows the Crucifixion.

In our fallen world, death inevitably follows life. In God’s plan for us, new life just as inevitably follows death, so as long as we accept that new life.

Each ending is a new beginning. The old is finished so that the new may begin.

May we all become a new creation in him. May our old life be finished, and may our new life in Christ begin. New. Each Sunday. Each and every day as we become more and more like Jesus, a true child of God.

Amen.

My five minutes are up, but I wanted to write a bit more about another “beginning.” Fourteen years ago today, Julia and I went on our first date. Neither of us knew it that day, but that date would be the beginning of our journey together through life. And a lot was finished for me that day too, including my loneliness,  my faithlessness, and my long wandering through a spiritual wasteland. I’ve said many times that God brought Julia into my life to bring me back to him. It’s true. And as an extra reward he also brought an amazing woman into my life who would become my wife, and then gave us both an extraordinary daughter who would teach us how much love we were both capable of giving. I am grateful for that new beginning, for that first date, and for every other date and every other day since. 

Five Minute Friday

Bloggerhood Etc. 4/21/14

A stack of stones on a beach.

Photo: Elizabeth Esther

Happy Easter to all! Here’s a roundup of the best Holy Week posts in a special Triduum edition of Bloggerhood Etc.

Best Holy Thursday Posts …

‘Homeless Jesus’ Sculpture Continues to Divide Wealthy Community” by Ryan Grenoble in The Huffington Post.

Becoming Peter, on Betrayal and Faith” by Paddy Gilger, SJ at Patheos.com.

Pope Francis Washes the Feet of 12 Elderly and Disabled People” by RomeReports.com (via YouTube).

Best Good Friday Posts …

Hanging on the Cross Alongside Jesus” by Marlena Graves at Missio Alliance.

For We Know Not What We Do” by Matthew Paul Turner.

Stripping the Altar” by Cara Strickland at Little Did She Know.

Best Holy Saturday Posts …

If Death is Not the End” by Brandon Andress.

Ebenezer” by Elizabeth Esther.

Homily at the Easter Vigil (Full Text)” by Pope Francis at Salt and Light TV.

Best Easter Sunday Posts …

Celebrating Easter: Why a Watered-Down Resurrection Doesn’t Work” by James Martin S.J. in The Wall Street Journal.

The Radical Easter Proclamation” by Christopher J. Hale in Time.

Greek Orthodox, Catholic Bishops Celebrate Easter” by Brian Lee in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

And the best Easter Egg Hunt …

Pixar Fans Join the Hunt!” by DisneyPixar (via YouTube)

Today

Crucifixion

Paolo Veronese, The Crucifixion (16 Century)

Today, he is pierced for our transgressions.

Today, is is crushed for our iniquities.

Today, the punishment that brings us peace is placed upon him.

Today, by his wounds, we are healed.

We are the ones that hurt him, the ones that put him on the cross, and yet he forgives us, and in his hurt he heals us.

He dies for us out of love for us, and his love is the glue that repairs our brokenness.

Water and blood, flowing from his side, filling and binding every wound, every break, and every crack that sin ever opened. Closing them and healing them forever.

For in the midst of death, we are in life. The tomb cannot contain him, and at Easter we shall be made new.

Today, I know that my Redeemer lives!

M. Grunewald Resurrection

Matthias Grünewald, Resurrection (c. 1510-15)

For he is the Resurrection and the Life.

Five Minute Friday

 

Triduum, a Liturgical Drama in Three Acts

Truddum Triptych

A Triduum Triptych by Stephen Crotts (via Facebook)

Beginning tonight, churches throughout the world will reenact the greatest drama in human history. Like many great dramas, this one will be presented in three acts. But unlike most dramas, which are presented in one showing, this drama will be spread out over three nights. Perhaps it is too great a story to fit in one night.

(Note: I’m using the Catholic liturgies for these three nights as my example. Many Anglicans and Lutheran churches will also observe the Triduum in a similar way, with a few small differences.)

The Paschal Triduum.

Act One: Holy Thursday evening.

Foot washing at last supper

Duccio di Buoninsegna The Washing of Feet (1308 – 11)

The Mass of the Lord’s Supper begins as usual, with a sung Introit (extolling the glory of the Cross) or a Hymn. The Gloria is sung for the only time during Lent—excluding the Feasts of the Annunciation and Saint Joseph—and church bells are rung. After this, the bells (and organ, if the church has one) are silenced until Easter eve.

The readings at the Liturgy of the Word describe the original Passover celebration (Exodus 12:1-8, 11-14), recount the institution of the Eucharist (1 Corinthians 11:23-26), and retell the account of Jesus washing the disciples feet (John 13:1-15). After a brief homily, the priest removes his chasuble and washes the feet of twelve parishioners—standing in for the apostles—following Jesus’ example.

The Eucharist follows. After communion, the Reserved Sacrament is carried in procession out of the church and to an Altar of Repose where the faithful wait with Jesus—whom Catholics believe is truly present—for at least the hour that the disciples couldn’t manage. There is no recessional or closing hymn. The altar is stripped privately in silence.

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