Do you remember Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent?
Good Friday is the end of the line we have been following since then. We need to feel its finality in order to enter into the epilogue which is a new beginning.
Many of those who remember why it is a Bank Holiday but don’t usually darken the doors of a church come to church for the special service. Like non-observant Jews with Yom Kippur, it has a religious mystique that cannot be ignored and demands some measure of devotion or recognition.
This is why we call this Friday Good. What is good about it? A good man and great teacher is arrested in secret, dragged through a quick fake trial, rejected by his people, deserted by his friends, crucified by an occupying enemy force. He dies on the Cross with his mother and a handful of friends beneath him.
Why does such another tragic waste and failure deserve to be called good? Why do we line up, the great and the small of us, to kiss the cross in silence at the ninth hour, 3pm, today, aligning ourself in solidarity with its silent victim and his humiliation?
Do we see the smaller crosses of our own lives within this one great bare Cross that casts its shadow over the world, uniting its collective suffering in its anonymous embrace? In the simplification of this unifying symbol, do we not find a healing of depression, a redemption from the isolation and loneliness that death, suffering, rejection, failure and humiliation repeatedly plunge us into?
‘It is accomplished’, Jesus said, one of his seven sayings from the Cross. It is a relief to feel that the worst is over. From this relief, even in the dead end alley, comes a hope. For something we have as yet no imagination for.
For once, silence is easy.