Attending Tenebræ helped me understand one of the few Good Friday poems I'm aware of: John Donne's "Good Friday, 1613. Riding Westward," a poem that begins meditatively but seems to turn masochistic.Read More
Filtering by Tag: Good Friday
This month, we are approaching two national holidays. They happen to fall on the same day. But depending on your political, religious, liberal, conservative, radical, conventional standing, you may lean more towards one than the other, or even feel like you have to choose between the two.
Earth Day was instituted in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson, it was a political initiative, intended to enforce national environmental responsibility, and this new holiday birthed the modern environmental movement. Good Friday is annually observed by Christians to remember Christ’s crucifixion and death so many years ago. To the church, Good Friday, together with Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, is the culmination of history, fulfilling Scripture’s promises that a Savior would come into the world and redeem it.
This year April 22nd hosts both Earth Day and Good Friday, and to many people, these holidays may seem to be at odds with each other. In my experience, Christians are more interested in discipleship than reducing their carbon footprint. Female ministers and abortion can be hot topics, but global warming? Not so much. Likewise, the people who champion green living march under the banner of sustainability, health, and animal rights. Talk of soul-saving doesn’t really hold appeal, because in their mind, they’re already saving the planet.
It saddens me that anyone would think these two ideals have to be pitted against each other as if in a bull pen. Because in my perspective, both holidays have to do with wholeness. Whole earth, whole redemption, whole life.
Eden was once whole, a perfect earth, perfect creation, and perfect humanity. God called it, “very good.” But sin crept into this good garden and fragmented it, introducing thorns and dry soil, pain and pride—toxic to both our bodies and our souls.
Good Friday marks a turn in our decaying world. A man who was God sacrificed His life for the world, and this set into action a redemption that would work both backwards and forwards, pulling this broken earth and its broken people into a new heaven and new earth. One day, the effects of sin will be reversed, and the new heaven and earth will reign in renewed wholeness. Christ’s sacrifice on Good Friday set all of this into motion.
Scripture says that creation is in bondage just as are the children of God. “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:22-23).
This April 22nd, let’s groan and wait together, the earth and God’s children, the created crying out to our Creator.
Stephanie S. Smith graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a degree in Communications and Women’s Ministry, which she now puts to work freelancing as a book publicist and writer through her business, (In)dialogue Communications, at www.stephaniessmith.com. After living in Chicago for four years, traveling to Amsterdam for a spell, and then moving back home to Baltimore to plan a wedding, she now lives with her husband in Upstate New York where they make novice attempts at home renovation in their 1930s bungalow. She writes for www.startmarriageright.com and manages Moody Publishers’ blog, www.insidepages.net.
In Cincinnati, it is supposed to be 85 degrees today. Record breaking temperatures for the first weekend in April in the Tri-state. The sun in my porch where I sit is warm. My dog has had no trouble finding a patch of sun to bathe in. Already, we have been to Starbucks and the dog park. The sun has made us want to get out of bed earlier to live a longer day, be outside in the open air. Already, before 9am I am in a pair of beat up shorts and a white tank top, flip flops and shades. Today is (a) Good Friday.
This morning, already, has been a good morning. It has been a morning of not wanting. A morning of not longing for sun, which, of late, has become my usual Cincinnati practice. Today has not been a morning of wearing my brown down coat to take the dog outside for her stroll. It has not been a morning of grey sky and wind and hair in my face. Today has been a morning of light, of leaves on the trees, of clover flowers pushing through a small corner lawn that suddenly needs to be mowed. It has been a morning of less aches and pains than those I went to bed with last night, a morning of a glass of cold water from the Brita pitcher in the fridge. It has been a morning of small, good things.
Looking around my new house, boxes everywhere, walls un-painted, the kitchen a mess, I am unshaken. And I don’t mind that my hooded sweatshirt is at my feet on the floor in our living room. I don’t mind that the kind size green quilt that I napped with last night is heaped in a ball on the floor just where I threw it off without putting it neatly away before bed. And the pillows on the couch are a mess. And the mail is stacked on the entry table. And my bags are still unpacked from Costa Rica. And the laundry: wet towels, smelly hiking shoes—none of it is done. But there is no hurry. How long since I have been present to my own life?
This morning, the pilgrims of our city will gather outside in the hot sun to take part in the Cincinnati tradition of praying the 84 steps at Holy Cross Immaculata church in Mt. Adams. They will pray the rosary together and walk one step at a time up the hill to mark their reverence of this Holy Day. I will mark this day too, in small steps, living my prayers instead.
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Michelle Metcalf resides in Cincinnati, OH with her husband, Benn and her dog, Elsie. She is currently working on a collection of humorous essays about growing up in Midwestern Suburbia.