I have a younger friend who has looked forward to her “golden birthday” for years. (For those unfamiliar with the term, your “golden birthday” occurs when your new age is the same as the date of your birth.) In my friend’s case, she will turn 30 on March 30 of next year. A momentous birthday, for sure.
However, when she recently looked ahead to 2018, she discovered her much anticipated golden birthday falls on Good Friday. And in her words, Good Friday is “not a day to celebrate; not a day to indulge.” Quite naturally, she was disappointed. But quite admirably, she gets it. She understands the need for reflection during the liturgical season of Lent – up to and including Good Friday.
In the United States, we refer to the day Christ was crucified as Good Friday. But in Germany it is called karfreitag which translates to “Sorrowful Friday.” How aptly named! Clearly not a day to celebrate; not a day to indulge. For on that Friday over 2,000 years ago, Jesus died a painful death. But, of course, the physical pain paled in comparison to the spiritual suffering caused by the Son’s complete and utter separation from the Father on our behalf.
He who knew no sin became sin for us and faced hell itself as the Father turned His face away. Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Definitely, not a day to celebrate; not a day to indulge. Instead, a day to reflect; a day for self-denial. For without it, how can we grasp the joy of Resurrection Day? How can we adequately celebrate the gift of new life if we’ve not tasted the death our sins have earned?
Because we are born sinners, we willfully turn from our Creator and could be doomed to that choice for eternity. Yet in His mercy, Christ died for us while we were still sinners. The God of justice took the punishment for sin upon Himself. The debt was paid. Sin was defeated. Death lost its sting. Out of no way, God revealed THE way. And when you reflect upon that, Resurrection Day explodes with meaning.
So perhaps my friend will celebrate her long awaited golden birthday a few days late. If so, I think it will be all the sweeter for having first observed Sorrowful Friday. She will not just be celebrating a birthday; she will be rejoicing in the finished work of the Author and Perfecter of her faith.
During this season of Lent, as the daylight lengthens, I hope you, like my young friend, will take time to seek the Lord in a very intentional way. Practice self-denial. Join your Central family for Holy Week services during the noon hour. Attend the Maundy Thursday service. On Sorrowful Friday, take time to reflect. And then on Easter Sunday, celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior like never before!
God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2nd Corinthians 5:21
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Central’s Director of Children’s Ministries