Good Friday brings back my memories of growing up Catholic and my dad making sure we knew the significance by having us attend the three hour mass every year. As a kid it was an interminable amount of time to sit still ... but still we sat. No coloring books to keep us busy, no toys, no talking.
I admire my dad for being true to his beliefs and making sure that we had knowledge of seeking after God and knowing what Jesus did on our behalf by dying on the cross...our sinbearer.
My mother was a presbyterian who signed over her rights so that we would learn my dad's faith and while she helped us by making sure we memorized our prayers and learned our weekly lessons, she never did go to church with us.
I remember my dad talking about what Good Friday meant as we drove over to church year in and year out. I frankly did not like the incense as it made me feel very queasy. The pomp and circumstance of it all was intriguing I do admit. My dad was good to explain what everything meant, each station of the cross and so on. I think that is one thing (of many) that I appreciate about my dad...he was very patient with me in explaining and answering all the questions I had about God.
Another memory I have of Good Friday is that if we caught a break and didn't have to stay the entire three hours at church, we were sent to our rooms once we were home to contemplate just exactly what Jesus had done. Now in high school I admit I usually did that for about 10 minutes and then read whatever book was on my nightstand.
Many would say that we are brainwashed at an early age with religious instruction, but what does anyone do about something they hold dear? Do they hold it back until their loved ones are 10, 15, 20? No, they share it and especially with their loved ones so that they know what makes them tick and what drives them to live the way they do. I'm grateful for my dad's integrity in making sure that we knew what God was all about and for the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. No one can argue that.
I wish more churches that are not RCC had Good Friday services, but don't, so I might find myself at Christ the King in Pleasant Hill tomorrow. The day is worthy of much contemplation, incense or not.
If you are not a person who cares about God, you might want to consider this: When is the last time someone took it in the gut for you and died so that you might live? He covers our sin and is a bridge to God and eternal life. My dad told a friend the night before he died that Christ was the only sinbearer and the nurse told me my dad's last words were, "Lord, have mercy on me." I'm sure He did!
I am grateful my dad was so faithful in taking us to church every Sunday and sharing his core beliefs...those lessons were the seeds that led to my faith and gratefulness to Jesus Christ. I can't imagine life without Him and while life isn't the same without my dad, I know I will live eternally in his company. Thanks Dad! You were such a great father I had no trouble understanding the love of my Heavenly Father.
To quote Tony Campolo,"
It's Friday, but Sunday's comin'!
Happy Resurrection Day!