More in Community Voices:
By Citrus Heights resident Michael Bullington–
My memories of Good Friday observance are rooted in my childhood when my family, relatives and friends would make the trip to church to follow the Stations of the Cross. It was the somber response of the faithful to the awful events of that day two millennia ago when an innocent Man was hung on a cross to placate the religious and government authorities of the day.
The Stations traced the chronology between His judgment before the Roman governor earlier in the day to the laying of His body in a sepulcher in the early evening. Each station recalled one sad event after another. Not a word was spoken during the observance, except for the soft murmuring of prayers.
Lighting was natural with the exception of candles, which could be lit by the congregants, who donated for the rite. The rest of the day and evening was spent under the heaviness of that day’s significance.
And yet it has forever been memorialized as Good Friday. How strange, isn’t it?
I used to ponder how it came to be called “good.” It wasn’t until my early 30’s that the reason became clear to me.
On July 6, 1984, God opened my eyes through the miracle of a second birth. He revealed how His Son suffered and died for my sins, so that I might have eternal life (John 3:16). It was His death that became good for us, because it opened the door of eternal life to all who place their faith in Him.
The best way I can communicate the goodness of Good Friday is through a memory of our kids when they were ages 4 and 2.
I used to bathe our daughter, Michelle, and our son, Daniel, together. One routine summer evening as their bath was ending, Michelle complained with tears in her eyes that Daniel had hit her. I didn’t see the dirty deed, but it was evident from Daniel’s expression and body language that he had done something mean to his sister. So, I told her to dry off and go around the corner of the bathroom, out of sight of her brother, so that I could administer the hand of justice to the seat of knowledge.
I told Daniel to turn around and I then proceeded to hit my exposed thigh (I was in shorts) with a resounding slap. He turned around in a quandary, obviously relieved. Michelle came back into the bathroom and complained, “Daddy, Daniel’s not crying.”
Obviously not wanting to disappoint our oldest child’s thirst for justice, I instructed her once again to leave, and then turned my attention to Daniel. He turned around, with noticeably less hesitation than before, and was once again relieved to hear an even louder slap absent any discomfort whatsoever to his posterior.
Michelle returned complaining even more strongly about Daniel not showing anything resembling the pain that she had experienced from his little hands. In fact, by now he was beginning to enjoy this experience. My only reaction to Michelle’s dismay was to direct her out of the bathroom one more time as I searched for some way to explain this as an object lesson.
I struck myself a third time with any force that was missing from my second whack, to which Daniel reacted with glee and Michelle with complete and tearful exasperation.
Well… I explained. When someone does something bad, there is always a punishment, isn’t there? They both agreed, from what I can recall. Then I explained that since I’m the Dad, I get to choose who receives the punishment for the mean act. They really couldn’t object, could they?
Then I asked, “What if I decided that I wanted to take the punishment for Daniel’s act, even though I hadn’t done anything wrong.” Right?
So, then I asked, “Who can you think of that didn’t do anything wrong, and yet had to suffer for the wrong things that we all do?” They both chimed in unison, “Jesus!”
What a relief to hear these young minds understand the reason why Good Friday is called “good.”
The Bible tells us in John 3:16 that, “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son (sacrificed on the Cross), that whoever believes in Him, should not die (eternally), but have eternal life.” This is one offer you want to take advantage of right away, don’t you agree?
And if you do, then this Easter, you too will experience the wonder of being raised with Jesus Christ to eternal life. Happy Resurrection Day!
Michael Bullington has been a resident of Citrus Heights for over 30 years and submits guest columns on various historic dates throughout the year. The Sentinel welcomes guest opinion columns from Citrus Heights residents. To submit an article for publication, click here.
Thanks for reading The Sentinel. You are either trying to access subscribers-only content or you have reached your limit of 5 free articles per 30 days. Click here to sign in or subscribe.