Before I became a Christian, I always wondered why today was called Good Friday. Was it good because the people who hated Jesus got their wish and he was killed? Was it good because his suffering was over and he was in heaven? To our family, Good Friday has never been “good” in any way. When my mom was but two years old and her father was in his early forties, he had a massive heart attack and died on Good Friday…and the pain of that day stayed with his wife, children and grandchildren to this day, nearly 54 years later. I know of him only in pictures and occassional antecdotes my mom tells me to tie me in with the family at large; recently, we were talking about my obsessive love of peanut butter and she said I got that from him and from my grandmother.
But back to the topic at hand. I understand now what is “good” about it. Jesus died, yes, and died a horrible death on the cross, after being beaten and flogged and publicly humiliated. He could have been spared this all but for the fulfillment of the prophecy to come…he was pierced for our transgressions, he died not because he sinned but because we sinned and still do. Each and every day. The “Good News” of “Good Friday” is just that – that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son so that we might live and have eternal life (paraphrase of John 3:16).
It leaves me in complete and utter awe to think of this.
Today, Michelle, David & I visited a local church to participate in their reflection stations they had set up. When you first entered, the room was dark, lit only by hundreds of candles throughout. Various stations were set up, designed to make you read the scripture as it related to the crucifixion, reflect and pray. At one station, you wrote a sin you struggled with and nailed it to a wooden cross – I have done this before in various other settings and always find it very powerful. The most moving station for me, however, was the station lit by candlelight and full of mirrors. You were to look into the mirrors and remember that God made you in his image and reflect on what that means in regards to Good Friday and Easter.
I have been dealing with some serious self-esteem issues for some time now and this station just caught me off guard. As I stared at myself in the mirror and prayed, I told God that I did believe I was made in his own image and that he knit me together in my mother’s womb. He knew I would have a curved spine and need surgery in my teens or I would die by the time I was 21 – he made me that way. He knew I would struggle with physical pain and bad skin throughout my life – he made me that way. He made me in his own image, just as he made his son, who came down to earth and died for our sins. In his own image, I thought, me? Me. How can it be, though I know in my heart of hearts it is true. He said it, so it is truly so.
And I praise God through it all. I am who I am because of how he made me. And he knew all along how I would turn out. He knew that I would enter that small chapel on just this day, feeling small and unattractive, and come upon that station, look at myself in the mirror and feel something begin to move, to change, within my own spirit.