THEN…

It’s Good Friday.
A church is holding their Easter Service today. And tomorrow and Sunday. It’s a big church.
I don’t like criticizing other churches, because I don’t know how they came to that decision. It is a big church, so they may have needed all three days for their worshippers.
BUT.
You can’t have Easter without Good Friday. And I’m coming from pure speculation. Who knows what is going to take place in their Easter Service today. But the thought of Easter service on Good Friday just doesn’t sit right with me.

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for the fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. (John 20:19-20)

As Kenda Kreasy Dean writes, the key word is in the middle of verse 20. “Then”– a delayed reaction — “the space between hearing the good news and responding to it.”

Jesus shows up (mysteriously through locked doors) says, “Peace be with you.” Then shows the disciples his scars. Then the disciples recognized who was standing before them (even though he walked through locked doors).

Jesus says “peace be with you” and no one recognizes him. He doesn’t raise his voice, stomp his feet, play loud music, turn on the TV to show a funny video, doesn’t tell a joke or act out a funny skit… no, Jesus shows them God’s wounds. He shows them a suffering God.

“Revelation begins not with lofty assertions of God’s power but with the fact of God’s suffering in the world.”
Not everyone can relate to honor.
Not everyone knows glory or power.
Not everyone relates to reverence or even holiness.

But everyone knows pain. Everyone can relate to suffering. Because, pain, like love, is universal.

Easter is a result of Good Friday.
Easter is the hope that we receive in the midst of Fridays.
As Tony Campolo famously preached, “It’s friday! But Sunday’s a-coming!”

There’s power in Good Friday, because Jesus hanging on the cross, as Rob Bell says, is God saying “me too” – that we are not alone in our suffering. That Christ suffered through what we are suffering through. That Christ is ultimately saying to us, “I know how you feel” because he’s been there; done that.

And Easter is a reminder that there is more to what we are facing today. That pain is not the be all and end alls of our lives. There’s light at the end of the tunnel. There is hope. There is redemption. There is life.
Yes. It’s dark. Yes. It’s stormy. Yes, the future is uncertain. Yes, life sucks. But. God is with us in the midst of our darkness; God is with us in our stormy seas; God is the never-changing and ever-lasting in a world that constantly changes; this God is truly Emmanuel.

Good Friday is just as important as Easter, because without Good Friday, we wouldn’t have Easter.
And Easter is very important because without Easter, we are forever trapped in the pain and confusion and suffering of Fridays.

Many people seem to live their lives more in the Fridays than in the Sundays. For all of us living in Fridays,

“It’s Friday. But SUNAY’S COMIN’!”

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