Good Grief on Good Friday

This year’s Good Friday will be different; the pandemic demands it. And though our gathering as a body is restricted, I am thankful that three essential facts of our commemoration remain unchanged: Jesus Christ died, was buried and rose according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:1-4).

The Friday of Holy Week focuses on that first fact and with it fast approaching, I’m stuck on the emotional element of the day for us. Friday is usually a day of celebration and elation, with the week’s labor behind us. Yet, saints all over the world will be gathering in heart tomorrow to grieve. How both strange and appropriate is that? Strange in that we are moving ourselves to mourn and appropriate in that despite Jesus’ victory over death the cause of death – sin, is still with us.

By nature, I am averse to mourning, especially over sin, and I know our world is too. Satan and our flesh have done an excellent job in making regret, shame and mourning altogether bad things; citing that they rob us of our “dignity” and ability to “move forward” – whatever that means. Sometimes, Satan and the flesh really turn on the engines and get us to believe that shame, regret and weeping are signs of little grace in our lives – they are so crafty.

But when I open my Word I find a completely different view. I see a culture that

How often have I been deceived on this point? How often have I given Him my mouth for preaching and my hands for serving, but have given Him no tears, no lamentation, no mourning. Will the regret kill me, the shame or the tears? No. He died so that it wouldn’t drive me to despair. He died so that my tears could be grace filled while on Earth; tears He will wipe away at His coming (Rev. 21:4). He died so I could feel the weight of my sin and yet not be buried under it.

The pandemic has robbed us of many things, but it hasn’t robbed us of the shadow of the cross, it cannot. Nothing can and nothing will. So, let us join in heart tomorrow and put amusements and distraction aside, let us add fasting to our tears, set our eyes on the cross and receive the grace to feel what we often feel far too little of (Zech. 12:10).

Good Friday to you saints! Good Friday to you!

headshot of David Noel, Jr.

David Noel, Jr.  is the Director of Youth Ministry and leads CrossRoads, a young adults ministry.