Funny how things change. Good Friday’s coming to an end and in a sense it was just another ‘ordinary day’. Apart from the shops closing up early that is.
There was a time when Good Friday used to a be solemn and stifling high point. Drilled and hyped-up since Palm Sunday, come Friday you were expectantly waiting for something ominous to happen as the tragic epic slowly unfolded.
I remember as a child actually staring up at the skies and expecting the clouds to thicken and go dark in the middle of the day. Followed by a loud thunder, announcing the exact time of Christ’s crucifixion. You know, something like the drama pictured in the video excerpts below of ‘The Passion Of The Christ’ — edited by Jason Tremblay.
But, except for the heavy pounding sounds of the church bells, nothing ever really happened. And yes, it always left me feeling a bit disappointed.
Stories of Good and Evil
Our household was one of a non-practicing Catholic father and an overzealous Methodist mother. We grew up with our mother reading Bible stories to us in the mornings before we got out of bed and in the evenings before we fell asleep. And our father looking on with an amused twinkle in his eyes.
Then there was Sunday School after mass, the Youth club on Friday evenings and Bible Studies on Saturday evenings. I loved my weekends. It was a time I met other youths I could relate to and liked.
We’d spend hours discussing various interpretations and implications of Holy verses. It was like a Philosophy class. We were young and bright and making sense of the world around us; separating the Good and the Evil. It always left you feeling drained but a little smarter. At least, you thought you were.
Then one day a church leader made the stupid call, telling me I had to renounce my father as he wasn’t a born again Christian. She gave me the whole shebang of Christ’s suffering and dying for me on the cross. And in return I was requested to follow Him. Completely.
Big mistake. In one go, it turned me off Religion, God and Church. For how can a merciful God aka Higher Creature, representing unconditional love, condition me with: “I’ll only love you, if you sacrifice your loved ones for me”.
Losing my Religion, sadly enough also meant losing the excitement I felt as a child. I miss the Good Friday dramatic build-up. Having said this, I still don’t think its right to use the story of “a God taking on all the world’s sin; suffering all kinds of torture and finally being horrifically crucified”, as a blackmailing tactic into loving and serving Him.
Through the years I’ve forgotten a lot of the Bible stories. Fortunately though, our mother’s readings and teachings have left some mark. In a simplified form and expressed in a more personalised new kind of faith: The Good. To me the true spirit of Good Friday.
Do good by others, the way you want others to do good by you.
Unconditional love is as simple as that.
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