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Good Friday Recollections

April 7, 2012

All Christian people, whatever their lighter superstitions, have always thought Friday lucky. Otherwise they would have talked about Bad Friday instead of Good Friday.”
― G.K. Chesterton

     Good Friday and the Saturday following have given me a good chance to break from the heavy chores of schoolwork and engage in a little introspection.

I have found that in daily living I often leave God out in the wayside. I, of course, claim to be a Christian, but if you really press me, you’ll find that most of the times that I turn to God is when I’m in trouble, as if he was some sort of cosmic life raft. I feel like most of my prayers are less along the lines of Psalm 100 and more along the lines of “Help!” Of course, God is a refuge in our time of trouble. But I feel like we don’t often treat him as a refuge. We see him more as a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card. We can talk about God all day long, but until we begin to have a relationship with him, until we begin to have some communion with him, our words are empty.

Rembrandt's Crucifixion. Rembrandt included himself in the picture. He is the one nailing Jesus to the cross.

     Derek Webb has a terrifically sarcastic song called “The Spirit Vs. The Kick Drum.” One of the memorable lines in it is, “I don’t want the Father, I want a vending machine.” I don’t know about everyone reading this, but I for sure can identify with this. I don’t want to do the hard work of praying, learning, living, suffering, loving with Jesus. I want it to stay casual. I want to offer up a quick, Twitter-esque prayer and hope everything gets better–“@JesusChrist, please bless me and take away my problems. #Rightnowplease.” But Jesus doesn’t want this kind of cheap devotion. Jesus wants everything.

What does this have to do with Good Friday? When Jesus went up to the cross, he went against all the ideas of what the people wanted the Messiah to be. They wanted either a Socrates or a Superman–someone to tell them a few ideas that would change their life or someone who would magically take away all of their problems. Jesus was none of these–he was an example. When he went up the road to the cross, he was saying, “Follow me.”

"Corpus Hypercubus" by Salvador Dali. A Crucifixion Scene for the modern age.Below is a John Donne Poem written for Good Friday that deals with some of these issues.

Below is a John Donne Poem written for Good Friday that deals with some of these issues.

GOOD-FRIDAY, 1613, RIDING WESTWARD.
by John Donne

LET man’s soul be a sphere, and then, in this,
Th’ intelligence that moves, devotion is ;
And as the other spheres, by being grown
Subject to foreign motion, lose their own,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a year their natural form obey ;
Pleasure or business, so, our souls admit
For their first mover, and are whirl’d by it.
Hence is’t, that I am carried towards the west,
This day, when my soul’s form bends to the East.
There I should see a Sun by rising set,
And by that setting endless day beget.
But that Christ on His cross did rise and fall,
Sin had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I almost be glad, I do not see
That spectacle of too much weight for me.
Who sees Gods face, that is self-life, must die ;
What a death were it then to see God die ?
It made His own lieutenant, Nature, shrink,
It made His footstool crack, and the sun wink.
Could I behold those hands, which span the poles
And tune all spheres at once, pierced with those holes ?
Could I behold that endless height, which is
Zenith to us and our antipodes,
Humbled below us ? or that blood, which is
The seat of all our soul’s, if not of His,
Made dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn
By God for His apparel, ragg’d and torn ?
If on these things I durst not look, durst I
On His distressed Mother cast mine eye,
Who was God’s partner here, and furnish’d thus
Half of that sacrifice which ransom’d us ?
Though these things as I ride be from mine eye,
They’re present yet unto my memory,
For that looks towards them ; and Thou look’st towards me,
O Saviour, as Thou hang’st upon the tree.
I turn my back to thee but to receive
Corrections till Thy mercies bid Thee leave.
O thi
Burn off my rust, and my deformity ;
Restore Thine image, so much, by Thy grace,
That Thou mayst know me, and I’ll turn my face.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Nico permalink
    April 8, 2012 12:26 am

    I appreciate this so much. Thank you.

  2. Marla permalink
    April 10, 2012 3:25 am

    Tis true, how we view our Savior so lightly for such a great sacrifice. How He must have suffered agony as well in the confinement of the human body and then face the cross.

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