The Good Friday Funk

April 2nd, 2010

It’s Good Friday today — an ironically named holiday if ever I’ve heard one. And, as always, I’m filled with ambivalence. No wait, that isn’t quite true. I haven’t always been ambivalent about Good Friday. For most of my life, I was largely unaware of it. Growing up, my family went to church on Easter but I can’t remember ever participating in any other Holy Week activities or services.

In any case, since going to seminary, I’ve been much more aware of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and the whole Holy Week calendar. And at the end of the day (or week, I guess), it just doesn’t sit comfortably on me.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Easter. Rebirth, renewal, resurrection, joy, triumph, vindication, validation. I’m fully supportive of all of those things. Jesus lives. Hooray!

It’s all the wallowing in misery* that takes place earlier in the week that I don’t love. Because it’s weird wallowing. A sort of masochistic sorrow because the focus is always on the awesomeness of the suffering. As Christians, we take pleasure in the pain because conventional theology teaches us that it was a good thing. A necessary thing. A preordained thing. A beautiful thing.

And I disagree. Respectfully, politely…but firmly. I think the murder of an innocent person is a a bad and ugly thing. I think that that particular murder was probably inevitable, but that isn’t the same as preordained or planned. And as for necessary? Well, that’s complicated. I go back and forth. Ask me again in ten years when I’ve had time to think about it more.

And so, I’m in my Good Friday Funk. Is it Easter yet?

*Note that this post is about Good Friday in general, and not really about how our church celebrates Holy Week. We actually have some darn good services and very little wallowing. I’m looking at the broader issue here.

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