The horrors of the scourging and crucifixion of Jesus, had we the eyes to see them, would undoubtedly haunt us for our entire lives. Every year on the Friday before Easter, Christians try to have the eyes to see that horror. Good Friday is the day “to know nothing … but Christ and him crucified.” Because reconciliation with our loving maker came at the greatest cost imaginable, the Church unites in the personal work of trying to feel that pain as acutely as possible. We visualize the scenes from the accounts we have — the trail, beating, mocking, and crucifixion of Jesus. We don’t eat much food, because, since we’ve put ourselves there in Israel on that day, we wouldn’t desire food anyway. While full time ministers and monastics are more fully able to enact their own presence at and participation in the events of that day in the early 30’s A.D., the rest of us have to try while we’re at work or otherwise interacting with a thoroughly secular world that can’t grasp what this day is.
I really hope we can all try this year in particular, because both Eastern and Western Christians are doing this together. The difference in the calendars of the eastern and western churches often separate our observances of Holy Week and Easter, but this year we’re all aligned. Thanks be to God. Tens of millions of Christians around the globe are praying together this Good Friday, fasting and holding services to make present the reality of the death of Christ. Join in with the Church yourself; join your family in mourning. Tomorrow we wait in quiet sadness, aware of God resting on the seventh day. May a hush fall over the bustle of the world as it uncomfortably becomes aware that the entirety of the Church has fallen silent in mourning.