Eugene Cho

How could it possibly be a “Good” Friday?

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Good Friday. Huh?

Why is it “good?”  How could it possibly be good?

  • In a culture that is ever so quick to get to the product
  • In a culture that is ever so quick to avoid suffering and pain and seek ways to medicate ourselves to avoid pain
  • In a culture that is ever so quick to jump to the bunnies and eggs
  • In a culture that is ever so quick to commercialize, capitalize, and consumerize
  • In a culture that is ever so quick to jump to the good news of Easter Sunday and Resurrection
  • In a culture that is ever so quick to minimize the extent of Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion
  • In a culture that is ever so quick to sanitize and ‘disneyize’ the events of the brutal death of a man
  • In a culture that is ever so quick to grab hold of grace as if we are entitled to it

Today matters.
Dark Friday matters.
His death matters.

There is no Resurrection Sunday without Crucifixion Friday.

So, let’s not be so quick to bypass this day. There’s a reason why in the Christian tradition – this day and service is considered the longest and darkest day of the year.

Let it be long.
Let it be dark.
Let it be silent.
Let it be uncomfortable.

Death is always uncomfortable – especially when we’re complicit in this death.

While the good news of our beauty are clearly exemplified in the glorious news of the Resurrection…the depths of our darkness and depravity are  also exposed in the last days of Jesus’ life and crucifixion.

And once we understand, if even for a glimpse, the depths of our depravity and brokenness, the amazing depth of God’s grace and mercy is that much more understood and experienced. We understand that our broken image can be restored by the Creator of that original beauty.

Thank you, Jesus, for this day.
For Dark Friday.
For Holy Friday.
For the cross, sacrifice, and atonement.
Thank you, Jesus, for your life.

Thank you God that you have redeemed this day to be good.

Isaiah 53

Who believes what we’ve heard and seen? Who would have thought God’s saving power would look like this?
The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
a scrubby plant in a parched field.

There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.

But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.

We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him.
He was beaten, he was tortured,
but he didn’t say a word.

Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered
and like a sheep being sheared,
he took it all in silence.
Justice miscarried, and he was led off—
and did anyone really know what was happening?
He died without a thought for his own welfare,
beaten bloody for the sins of my people.
They buried him with the wicked,
threw him in a grave with a rich man,
Even though he’d never hurt a soul
or said one word that wasn’t true.

Still, it’s what God had in mind all along,
to crush him with pain.
The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin
so that he’d see life come from it—life, life, and more life.
And God’s plan will deeply prosper through him.

——————————–
Additional posts for the Resurrection season:

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22 Responses

  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by revheath: Great post by @EugeneCho on what Good Friday is all about: http://bit.ly/cYTpLQ

  2. Doug Ranck says:

    I love that in Lenten tradition this was called “God’s Friday.” He is sovereign!!

    • I like that. I don’t have a traditional church experience that included Lent or Good Friday…except we did do the last seven words…seven sermons (full-length) in one night.

      God’s Friday. I like that a lot.

  3. thank you for the reminder…

  4. Greg says:

    Just heard a comment on the radio this morning that “good” in Good Friday is an archaic word for “holy”. That makes more sense…

  5. robyn says:

    thank you.
    i have been trying al week to put this into proper words.

    mine ended up messy.

    twice.

    thank you.
    appreciated.

  6. […] to start (even if it’s as simple as this video). especially as we are in the midst of “dark friday“, this song rushed back all the wonderful memories vivien + i experienced when we sung this […]

  7. Jason says:

    I like the term Dark Friday, never heard it put that way before. Makes much more sense.

  8. Andy M says:

    While I don’t know the history of the title, “Good” seems most appropriate to me. It is an ugly truth that our salvation required the death of Jesus, and nothing that we say or do can change that. To gloss it over is to do it an injustice and to do damage to Jesus. But Jesus’ act was good, what happened on that day was good. In one day, Jesus reversed death and set the entire creation on the path to be made new and whole again.

    That was a Good day.

  9. […] appreciate the struggle to call this dark day “good.” I understand where some churches are coming from when they show (often graphic) videos depicting […]

  10. Kayce says:

    Amen! Amen! Amen!

  11. Brian LePort says:

    Eugene,

    Thanks for the reminder that ‘Good Friday’ should be a bit ugly, a bit disturbing, and something we should embrace.

  12. […] founder of the excellent extreme poverty-fighting non-profit, One Day’s Wages, encourages us not to skip ahead to Easter Sunday too quickly. We need to stay in the uncomfortable dark a while […]

  13. myyellowbike says:

    Just notifying you, tragically last Thursday, a young Korean girl died in an accident on her bicycle at the University of Minnesota.

    Kimberly Yeong Sil Hull http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/120549294.html

    There was another article too, I can’t find.

    She was adopted at 5 months. She also grew up some in Santa Fe New Mexico and Switzerland.

    She would have turned 26 years old tomorrow, Tuesday. I don’t know what one can say when a life is taken from someone so young.

    It sounds like, sad as it sounds, a truck, dump truck in fact in the morning hours collided with each other, basically the truck turning over into her lane cutting off her right of way. The poor poor girl.

    Just as my avatar is a yellow bike, I do bike frequently and these tragedies happen to often. I am always very very cautious when I am around any traffic. I’m sure she felt comfortable. I’ve been a few times around the U up there. I will walk my bike if there is a lot of traffic around.

  14. myyellowbike says:

    I use to ride up to the U, you know, the same way, someone has obviously followed me to this site, the Chinese use to bully me at the U, then one day, I rode up to the U of Minnesota on my bike on the road from Fort Snelling and what did I see?? A handful of Monks cloaked in orange or saffron gowns, “Na Mo Amito Fo”, but these guys, I’m rather sure, they were Tibetan Buddhist Monks. And then, it put it all into perspective for me. The Chinese Government oppresses Tibetans, those Chinese women would hassle me. Now I know some girl, Kieran, don’t know how it is spelled, not sure what nationality that name could be but she is from Far East Asia, one of those countries.

    Pahoua Vang, is a dear in St. Paul, I have always adored. But so young, but she still is grand and I am the Original Gran Torino! Well, maybe …. well, some similarities.

    Eugene talks about turning 40, life for me did not start in some ways, until I worked with the Hmong, in a middle school where the majority of kids are Hmong.

    And if from Bloomington Minnesota, I ride towards the Mall of America and then East to St. Paul, the Hmong still like me and meet me. During the Summer, they’d start going to the park where I go during the summer, Fort Snelling near the airport, right before you go to St. Paul. St. Paul is great, I don’t care for Minneapolis at all but the rest of the area is nice.

    Bless the Hmong, Bless Pahuoua, Bless this poor girl Audrey Hull http://www.mndaily.com/2011/04/25/audrey-hull-free-spirit-%E2%80%9Cwho-lived-moment%E2%80%9D

  15. […] how could it possibly be a “good” friday? (eugenecho.com) […]

  16. You might like to meditate on that subject with a short slow motion movie that I did inspired by Good Friday, a poem about the darkness that surround us.
    “Dance the darkness”

  17. Josh says:

    Reblogged this on Soli Deo Gloria and commented:
    Good thoughts on Dark/Holy/Good Friday from Eugene Cho!

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One Day’s Wages

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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