Eugene Cho

How could it possibly be a “Good” Friday?

pa009086

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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People often ask, "How does one stand all that rain in Seattle?" Actually, it doesn't rain that much. I like the rain. Keeps everything "evergreen" and clean. Keeps our air fresh. What's challenging is the gray weather. Give me a few more sunny days. 99 more days to be specific. 
Regardless, still love this city. Checking out Canada in case I need to move up North after the presidential election. Just saying, eh.

Downtown Toronto. Fascinating architecture. Amazed by the diversity of this city. We desperately want our children to not just be captivated by the beauty of creation...but more importantly, to the actual Creator of all that is good and beautiful.

Actually, we want and need this truth for our souls, too. What a privilege. This isn't possible without all those who give, pray, and support the work of @onedayswages. This week, I signed and mailed grants to three partner organizations totaling over $170,000. These grants will empower people by supporting maternal health care, refugee relief efforts, access to clean water, provide education, etc.

Sometimes, the brokenness of the world feel so overwhelming but let's keep running the race with endurance. Let's keep pursuing justice, mercy, and humility. Let's be faithful and may we be spurred on to keep working for God's Kingdom...on earth as it is in heaven.

Again, thank you so much for your support for @onedayswages! My wife, Minhee, and I stand on the shoulders of praying mothers. I'd like to take a moment to honor my mother-in-law. It's hard to put words together to embody her life but she is a very special, anointed person. I'm so blessed to have her as a mother in my life.

She was a devoted wife until she lost her husband to cancer, mother to three daughters, and later became a pastor. She became a follower of Christ as an adult and as such, led her her family to Christ. In her late 50s, she obeyed God's calling to go to seminary and be a leader in the church. She graduated #1 in her class and reminded us that it's never too late to follow a new dream or calling.

As she'll soon celebrate her 80th birthday, I'm especially grateful for the ways that she poured into and prayed over Minhee and her other children.  Even though she's officially retired, I'm inspired that the concept of retirement is not in her vocabulary.  She continues to serve the local church, evangelize and bear witness to Christ, and goes to the early morning prayer meeting at 5am everyday to pray for our family, our church, and for others. 
Jangmonim, we love and honor you. 어머니, 사랑합니다.

Someday, I hope that when my kids speak of Minhee and I...above all, they would say with integrity that their parents prayed for them and kept pointing them to Christ. On this Mother's Day, I want to take a few words to honor mother.

There’s a moment from a few years ago that will stick with me until the day I die. It’s regarding Sung Wha, my mother.

Minhee and I were at a point of transition, between working at an ethnic Korean church in the northern suburbs of Seattle called Lynnwood and launching Quest in urban Seattle. As I shared earlier, I was in desperate need of a job. I had a mortgage to pay. A pregnant wife. A kid at home. 
Then, praise God, after months without work, I finally landed a job.

My mom was in between jobs at this point in her life. She was in her late fifties, but she had such bad knees and degenerative hips that it was, and is, difficult for her to walk. My mom is like a human barometer—when a storm is coming and when it rains, her hips throb. Although my parents lived in San Francisco, she was visiting us in Seattle to encourage us in this difficult season.

As I prepared to go to work one early morning, I walked downstairs to put on my jacket and shoes, and forgot that my mother woke up early every morning to pray. In fact, she had been praying for months that I would find a job. “Eugene, where are you going?” she said when she saw me.

I hadn’t told my mother the news that I had just recently been hired for the janitorial gig at Barnes and Noble. I chose not to because I thought she and my father would be devastated. I didn’t want them to think that after laboring, sacrificing, and doing so much for us over all those years that their son had failed them.

But I couldn’t lie to her, so eventually I told my mom that I got a job and was going to work. “Great! What job? What are you doing?” “Um, I’m working at Barnes and Noble as their custodian,” I said finally.

Without asking another question, my mother got up from the dining table where she had been reading her Bible and praying. She slowly walked slowly toward me.

She approached me, then walked past me without saying a word, and I realized she was headed toward the closet. She opened the closet door, put on her jacket, turned around and said to me (in Korean), “Eugene, let’s go together. I will help you.” This is my mother.

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