Good Friday and the Last Enemy

The following post may be familiar to some, but I’m taking this Good Friday easy… and it all applies as much as it ever did. May you rejoice this Easter weekend, whether with laughing jubilation or tearful trembling.

Good Friday typically does not top the list of favorite holidays, probably because it’s not really human nature to celebrate Death with warm fuzzies and marshmallow fluff.  Deep down, I think we all pretty much despise Death.  I sure do.  Yes, because of Christ’s death and resurrection, we have the hope of eternal life in heaven when we die, but until then…

Until then, Death steals from us without remorse.  Though defeated, Death lashes out, like a dying despot trying to destroy as many in his demise as in his reign.  Death takes ones we love and leaves us swimming through a flood of emotions ranging from horror to anger to fear to emptiness and finally to surrender.  A shadow of sorrow remains, even as Life brings new joys to celebrate.  So when Good Friday comes around, and I think about Christ’s death on the cross, a bit of my soul rejoices in the knowledge that someone, namely Jesus Christ, took on Death.  And won.  While it may not be entirely reverent, I picture myself on the sidelines of an epic boxing match, shouting, “Yes!  You’re going DOWN, Death!”

And then comes Easter, with pastels and bunny rabbits, pretty clothes and special music.  The meaning of Easter sometimes seems a bit hidden under all that clutter, but it is a beautiful day no less.  Easter is that day when we learn Good Friday worked.  Jesus won.  We win.  Easter is a day of rejoicing.

For some though, rejoicing may not take the expected form.  Rejoicing may not be a jubilant laugh bursting forth from a glad heart, but a choking cry, wrenching its way from the deepest recesses of a broken heart, for whom Christ’s death and resurrection are not only one’s greatest hope, but one’s only hope, the fine thread keeping one’s nose above the flood of grief, sorrow, and agony.  For those acutely suffering Death’s dying sting, rejoicing is more gritty, more desperate than a pretty pastel Easter morning.

But this sort of rejoicing is just as beautiful as glad faces raised toward Heaven. The Newsboys have this song, “He Reigns.” I like the entire song, but the last verse especially stands out:

And all the powers of darkness

Tremble at what they’ve just heard

‘Cause all the powers of darkness

Can’t drown out a single word

When all God’s children sing out 

Glory, glory, hallelujah

He reigns, He reigns

All God’s people singing Glory, glory, hallelujah

He reigns, He reigns.

All God’s children sing out “Glory, glory.  Hallelujah.  He reigns.”  Whether in jubilation or desperation, this song silences the powers of darkness.  It rises above the dying shriek of Death to give glory to Him who defeated Death once for all.  I guess the point I want to make today – besides expressing appreciation for the raw wonder of the cross – is that whether your heart is moved by the softer side of Easter or stinging from the agony of Death, whether you feel more attuned to Easter or to Good Friday, you have a part in the worldwide choir of God’s children.  Don’t wait till Sunday to sing, and when you sing, sing nothing but the song He’s planted in your heart, however much it hurts.

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