It’s Easter weekend and it’s when we remember and celebrate how Jesus paid the price for our sin. The season starts with celebration (Palm Sunday) and ends with celebration (Easter Sunday). What happens in the middle of the season, however, doesn’t always get the same attention as it should. Good Friday is when we stop and reflect on the price Jesus paid for all of us.
I often hear, “It’s Good Friday, BUUUT Sunday is coming!”
Ever hear that? Ever say that yourself?
I don’t blame anyone for saying it or thinking that way, however, if that’s our focus, we usually miss the significance of Good Friday.
On top of that, we’re experiencing a global pandemic (COVID-19), which means we have to deal with modified Easter weekend plans.
I get it, no one really wants to talk about death. No one wants to reflect on how Jesus suffered and died. No one wants to walk through a whole day feeling depressed. I get it.
The problem is – the death we are remembering/reflecting about, is the death that provides us all with eternal LIFE and a relationship with God the Father. Jesus (without sin) literally took our place and covered our sin so that we could become righteous before God. When Jesus said, ‘It is finished,’ that’s what was accomplished. The cross is an incredible act of love that we really can’t afford to ignore – it has a huge significance.
So, what should we do on Good Friday to ensure we don’t miss out on remembering and reflecting on this significant day? In 2019, I wrote five things we can try, but I’ve edited this version in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Be virtually ‘present’ with family & other believers.
Jesus and the disciples were together during the Last Supper. They were having ‘commUNION’ together. It’s really important that we find creative ways of coming together, with fellow believers. Communion is the act of personally and corporately sharing the gift of grace that Jesus gave to all of us. (You can read more about Communion here)
In fact, I would even argue that communion loses its significance when we engage in communion by ourselves.
But just because we aren’t able to physically be with each other outside of our household (or small group depending on restrictions) doesn’t mean we have to partake alone. Also, I’m not saying you can’t partake alone – I’m saying it loses its power and significance when we avoid coming together as a group of believers.
So, have a ZOOM call, join an online service or FaceTime with a friend. There’s no reason why we can’t experience Good Friday with others during the pandemic.
I should also say – this shouldn’t be limited to Good Friday. We should come together and connect on a regular basis to remember and reflect on our faith.
2. ‘Devote’ yourself to remembering by reading scripture and ‘eating together’ – as the early Church did.
In Acts 2:42, Luke gives us three things the early Church devoted themselves to: teaching, prayer, fellowship, and the breaking of bread.
Sometimes we miss the connection between communion and eating together. But just as Jesus ate with his disciples, the night before he died, we should make it a practice to eat together when we remember what Jesus did for us.
I recently saw a meme of the Last Supper, that had Jesus at the table, with all the disciples on a ZOOM call. Don’t laugh. Virtual calling can be what gets us through this pandemic. There’s something special about seeing someone’s face and interacting with them.
I’m not saying every meal needs to result in a FaceTime communion experience, but I am saying that our meals together have significance. Let’s make sure we hold them sacred and allow the spirit of unity to increase our faith in Jesus as we connect and reflect on Good Friday.
When restrictions do lighten, let’s make sure to make the most of the moments that we have.
You can read about how to organize a communion meal here — I can’t wait to be a part of another one as soon as we can again!
3. Experience some teaching and/or discussion.
Whether you’re watching a church service online on Good Friday, on a ZOOM call, or discussing as a family household, it’s important to engage in this important topic!
If going to a local church service isn’t an option this year, let’s get creative. We have to be responsible and respect the social distancing and public health measures our government has in place. But just because it doesn’t look the same as usual, doesn’t mean we can’t engage in discussion.
Take some time as a household to ask a few questions and talk about what Easter is all about. We do this as a young family, and it always amazes me how much our kids actually understand. Here are some you can try:
- What is Easter all about?
- Jesus died for your sins, how does that make you feel?
- What is a cross and why is it important during Easter?
- Did Jesus stay dead? Why not?
Depending on how old your kids are, you can make these questions as simple or deep as necessary. Trust me, if you let them, they’ll probably send you googling a few answers. Also, feel free to email me with any questions (firstname.lastname@example.org), I would love to answer them or point you in the right direction!
Just like question #4 implies, we’ll usually end on a high note (our oldest now seven) – death can be a heavy topic. But that doesn’t mean we won’t talk about what Jesus did for us. Just because our children are young, doesn’t mean they can’t start to understand Jesus’ amazing love and sacrifice! They actually get it in their own way.
Find a way this Good Friday to discuss the significance. You won’t regret it!
4. Reflect on Jesus’ life and family situation 2000 years ago.
I often think about all of Jesus’ family and friends. That Friday (2000 years ago) would have been devastating to them. We know the story. We know the tomb doesn’t hold him…but they didn’t have that clarity.
If there’s anyone who truly understood Jesus’ sacrifice, it was his closest friends on earth when he died. They felt it. And they felt it alone because very few were on their side.
Even Peter (the leader) really struggled with what was happening. He even denied he knew Jesus when he was questioned. We would probably do the same if we were in the same position. Fear has a strange way of disappointing our optimism.
I think of the many people who are currently being impacted by COVID-19. It’s real right now. It’s difficult to say, ‘brighter days are ahead,’ when you can’t clearly see the success story down the road. But just like their desperate hearts 2000 years ago, we can confidently know that Jesus knows the way we’re feeling, and we can trust that the journey is not yet over!
5. Look to the future.
I know I’ve been saying to reflect on Good Friday, but there’s really no problem to look to the future as well. We just can’t forget to adequately reflect and remember the cross.
We know what happens on Sunday.
We can anticipate the celebration.
We can taste the victory.
We just can’t let the victory soften the impact of the cross. In essence, we remember the past, reflect on its meaning to us, and refocus as we look to the future – when Jesus will once again sit at the table with His Church (with no COVID-19 in sight)!
During the pandemic, we can share a similar hopeful stance:
We know this will eventually pass.
We can anticipate getting back to normal.
We can expect a vaccine. (Update: Easter 2021 – it’s now being rolled out!)
So, on Good Friday, maybe we should be saying, “Sunday’s coming, BUT today is Good Friday.” Maybe we should reflect on the darkness of COVID-19 to help understand and celebrate what we have overcome and the victory that is to come.