The Friday before Easter is the day that we call good. Some Christian traditions call this day “bad Friday.” For instance, in German the day is called Karfreitag, “Sorrowful Friday.” But in the end, it’s good. It’s Good Friday because though it was interminably, excruciatingly bad for Jesus, the benefits of His death on the cross are incredibly, eternally good for us.
Good Friday is the very center of the church year. The original one was, in fact, the center of history. It may seem obvious, but without Good Friday there would be no Easter. Without the suffering and death of the Son of God there would be no life and salvation. All of history led up to that Day, and all of history flows out of that Day.
Here are some ideas to help you mark the significance of Good Friday:
- Cross Yourself. It’s always a good idea to remember your baptism every morning by making the sign of the cross. But this day makes it even more significant. When you wake up and sit on the side of your bed, make the sign of the cross. It will remind you that what Jesus purchased and won for you on Good Friday has been given into your life today.
- Sacrifice Something. Jesus sacrificed His life for you and your salvation. A good way to show some appreciation for that great gift is to sacrifice something in your own life for the sake of someone else. Give up some time to help a friend. Sacrifice money for the sake of someone in need.
- Mark Time. It doesn’t seem to happen anymore, but it wasn’t that long ago that many businesses closed from noon to three on Good Friday. It was a way of allowing workers to mark the time Jesus spent on the cross. It was a good practice. I wish we still had it. But we can all do so in our own little way. Look at the clock at noon and remember. Set an alarm for three o’clock and reflect.
- Attend Church. It goes without saying that a significant day in the life of a Christian should be partially spent in church. Pray. Reflect. Praise. Worship. Experience the darkness that comes before the light.
- Eat Wisely. Many Christians give up something for the season of Lent. Others don’t eat meat on Fridays. A short fast might be a good reminder of the eternally generous sacrifice Jesus has made for you. Our family tradition is to eat fish after church on Good Friday. We give up the small sacrifice of eating meat, and remember that persecuted early Christians marked themselves with the sign of the fish.
It’s a significant Day. Remember all that it means for you.
How do you mark Good Friday?