The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood-
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.
- T.S. Eliot, "East Coker"
I've been watching my cursor flash on the screen, wondering what the appropriate greeting is for this day. Do I say "Happy Good Friday"? Or "Blessed Good Friday"?
It's a somber day in the church calendar - the day we commemorate the death of Christ. It's a day of mourning. It's also a day of awe and thanksgiving ("What wondrous love is this, oh my soul?"). In God's economy, the most tragic moment in history is transformed into the most victorious moment in history. This is why we can "call this Friday good."
As I've been writing this week, I've been preaching to myself - to carve out time in the busyness to remember the suffering of Christ. On Saturday evening, we will walk into the darkness of a church in mourning. Silence will reign, making the tiniest rustling echo off the high arched ceiling. We will keep vigil, remembering Christ dead, Christ buried. We will steadily rehearse the grand story of our redemption - each story, each promise highlighting our longing and desperate need. And when that darkness is suddenly scattered, and I hear a voice yell "He is Risen!" - my heart will echo the cry "He is Risen Indeed."
Death has been swallowed up in victory. Oh death, where is your victory? Oh death, where is your sting?