It’s amazing to me that this is the word we have used to describe the upcoming day of Holy Week.
The same word we use to describe a sandwich, or a movie, or a credit rating.
A few years ago, circumstances in my own life caused me to confront the enormity of what happened on that day. I was in a deep moment of personal crisis. An opportunity to find release from bondage, to feel the prison doors thrown open and the light of the sun on my face. What had held me back for so long was ripped from my shoulders. The shackles that had bound me in the prison of my own making were loosed, and I was set free. And it happened during Holy Week, which led me to really think about what Good Friday was actually all about.
This “good” day was actually a battle for freedom.
A battle that was fought to give us freedom–an epic, final moment in the battle for our souls. A man like no other, a man who held divinity in his hand and yet handed it willingly over to the Father, chose to enter the fray and fight. Christ, looking through time, saw each of us and willingly (after much arguing in the Garden, where he finally was able to say “And yet, not my will…but yours…” which I swear is probably the hardest thing anyone ever has to say) gave himself up to the torment and torture, to the utter loneliness of rejection from everyone he held dear.
His friends ran away.
His mother could only watch and weep.
And his Father, with whom he had spent every moment of eternity–from the eons before “Let there be light” to the journeys with Abraham and Moses and David up to the first Roman nail ripping flesh–turned his back, heartbroken, leaving his beloved son alone. The abandonment was so great that Jesus cried out, “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?” And yet, it wasn’t the nails that kept him there. It was his love.
Love so great that it is nearly impossible in human words to describe it.
Let’s be done using such a wimpy word to describe something as great as this day. It’s the Battle of Agincourt. It’s the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. It’s Normandy.
You understand what I mean. No one could describe these battles as good. They were dreadful and horrible and bloody, but because of these battles, peace and life and hope were restored. The outcome was life-changing, but the day, with the bloodshed and torment, was hardly good.
So, as I prepare to enter the last several days of Holy Week, I know that my Lord went through hell for me to be where I am today: forgiven, washed in his blood, and full of his grace.