Growing up, Good Friday was such a confusion for me. It may have been explained to me but never sunk in, but I simply couldn’t understand how it could be called Good Friday when, in fact, it was the day Jesus died.
Somewhere along the way, by God’s grace, it did sink in. It could only be called good because His death paid for my sin! Oh, how that’s good, good news.
And today was a really good Good Friday because what Jesus did for me became all the richer in meaning. We rejoined the Grace family (friends we lived with when we first landed 6 months ago) and a few other friends for a Seder Passover dinner.
About 7 years ago, Michael & Aimee had heard a man — now believer — who had been a Jewish rabbi. He went through each part of the Jewish Passover feast and — now being a follower of Jesus — added the rich hues and explanations and symbolisms that have always been a part of the tradition that pointed to the Christ who was to come.
After hearing the former rabbi, the Graces decided they wanted to have this Seder meal as a part of their Easter family tradition. They’ve invited different family and friends each year and we got the call this year.
It was truly a highlight of our 6 months here so far for me. I’ve been aching for a few things the last few years. 1) establishing meaningful family traditions and 2) giving preparation time and thought to Christmas and Easter and the reality of the freedom and joy Jesus has purchased and offers.
It wasn’t but a few minutes in, gathered around the table with friends, taking turns reading what Aimee assembled to walk us through the meal, that I’d found an answer to my prayer. And I’m already planning how we could host this next year, if Scott agreed.
If the significance of Passover is one you’ve only heard of a bit, or not at all, or you’d like to know more about what our evening was like, I highly recommend this: Christ in the Passover. It’s a downloadable PDF for $4 you can chew on in a few quiet moments over your Easter weekend.
Maybe tonight was even more meaningful for me living here in Australia. I’ve been surprised by many things while here but I think this Easter season has surprised me most of all. It’s a very secular, not-considering-much-of-anything-spiritual culture, yet Easter weekend is a 4-day weekend. It starts with Good Friday and ends with Easter Monday.
What sad irony. A country that doesn’t know Jesus but creates a holiday weekend (4-days!) around it. And what strikes me hardest, even though it shouldn’t surprise/bother me? Today is Good Friday and it’s one of 3 days mandated that all non-essential stores are closed. Yes, I looked it up. Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas Day are all days that the government regulates that stores are closed.
But it means nothing. If you asked the average person here, I bet they’d shrug their shoulders and have no idea why; they’d never even really thought about it. Truly, it’s only because Aussies love holidays and leisure (not bad in and of themselves) that these days are off. Most Aussies head out of town even on Thursday (as has half our neighborhood, it seems) and make it a long weekend. (Another interesting thing I just recently learned–most Christians head out of town, as well. Easter Sunday service isn’t nearly the big deal here as in the U.S.)
Oh, Good Friday. Jesus, our Passover Lamb, offered up for me. For all of us.
Happy Easter Weekend, friends. Death hasn’t overcome! He overcame and He’s alive!