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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Grateful. Still reflecting on the letters that I've received from classmates and students that have come before me and after me. Never imagined all that God would have in store for me. Lots of humbling things but in the midst of them, there were literally thousands upon thousands of daily decisions and choices to be faithful. That's what matters. Seen or unseen. Noticed or unnoticed. You do your best and sometimes you stumble and fumble along but nevertheless, seeking to be faithful.

Also, you know you're getting old when your school honors you with a Distinguished Alumni Award. Lol. 47 is the new 27. Or something like that. Here's to the next 47. In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

Be faithful. Amen. #notetoself (and maybe helpful for someone else)

At times, we have to say ‘NO’ to good things to say ‘YES’ to the most important things.

We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
Then invest deeply. May our compassion not just be limited to the West or to those that look like us. Lifting up the people of Iraq, Iran, and Kurdistan in prayer after the 7.3 earthquake - including the many new friends I met on a recent trip to Iraq.

The death toll rises to over 400 and over 7,000 injured in multiple cities and hundreds of villages along the Western border with Iraq.

Lord, in your mercy... We are reminded again and again...that we are Resurrection People living in a Dark Friday world.

It's been a tough, emotional, and painful week - especially as we lament the horrible tragedy of the church shootings at Sutherland Springs. In the midst of this lament, I've been carried by the hope, beauty, and promise of our baptisms last Sunday and the raw and honest testimonies of God's mercy, love, and grace.

Indeed, God is not yet done. May we take heart for Christ has overcome the world. "Without genuine relationships with the poor, we rob them of their dignity and they become mere projects. And God did not intend for anyone to become our projects." Grateful this quote from my book, Overrated, is resonating with so many folks - individuals and  NGOs. / design by @preemptivelove

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