Saturday, April 23, 2011

What is Good Friday?

One of my coworkers is from India. A few weeks ago, we were discussing our plans for the year. He said that there was a certain date he would be taking off from work.

"It's my god's birthday," he said. "It's important to celebrate it."

I have another coworker who is from Hong Kong. She and her boyfriend gave me a ride home one evening, and she asked me what Good Friday is. I think I gave her a quick answer that wasn't what I'd say now that I've been thinking about it. Now I realize that Christ's Passion deserves enough respect and contemplation for me to rise to the challenge when I have an opportunity to describe it to someone else.

So now it's your challenge. Imagine that you've just been asked the following questions. The person you are speaking to is unfamiliar with Christianity and is a non-westerner. You're a block from home and this isn't the venue for an hour-long theological discussion. How do you answer?

"What is Good Friday?"

"What is Easter?"

"What do you do at church this week?"

And for extra credit: What important questions do you think that Christians should be able to answer on the spot?


  1. What is Good Friday?
    - The second part of Jesus saving action to redeem and restore all persons. By His dying on the cross, humanity is made able to "die" to it's sinful nature.

    What is Easter (or Pashca)?
    - The third part of His saving action. By Jesus resurrection, death is conquered and humanity can "be made new" and be fully "made in the Image and Likeness of God".

    What do you do at Church this week?
    - From Maundy Thursday to Easter it is a single, sort of "Super" Liturgy, or worship. This is to show how from the Lord's Super on Maundy Thursday, to His suffering and death on God Friday, and Hid Resurrection on Easter, are a continuous saving action, which we are able to enter and participate with, and thus "be made new".

  2. Hmm. That's a thinker. Something that we take so for granted that we don't know how to relate it to someone who isn't familiar with the concept.

    What is Good Friday?

    It's a day where we honor our God's sacrifice of his son (Jesus Christ), who was crucified to pay for our sins so that we wouldn't have to.

    What is Easter?

    It's the day that we celebrate Christ's Resurrection. Three days after His death, He came back to life, defeating our concept of death and creating a new link by which we can obtain a direct and intimate relationship with God.

    Some churches will meet on Friday in in remembrance of the crucifixion, which is a mixture of solemnity for the pain that Jesus felt and celebration for what the sacrifice accomplished. Some members of my church will get together to watch the movie, "The Passion of The Christ" as a way of remembering just how great a sacrifice Christ's death was.

    On Sunday The church meets again, and everybody traditionally wears new and bright clothes and celebrates the resurrection with joyful hearts, remembering Evil's greatest defeat on this day.

    Those responses came out sounding a whole lot more "Sunday School" answer-ish than I had anticipated. Hmmmmm. That's disappointing to me.

  3. What is Good Friday?

    Good Friday is the day when we remember the Passion and Death of our Lord, Jesus Christ. The Agony actually starts the night before on Holy Thursday immediately after Jesus took part with his disciples in the Passover Meal, a meal that dates back with the Jewish people to the time of Moses about 3300 to 3450 years ago give or take a few um... hundred years : ) (we can go into that another time). We celebrate the reason He died for us, which was for the salvation of our sins. These sins have taken place, we believe, since the beginning of time when man chose, with their free will, to disobey our God the Father. Jesus, the Son of God, saves us from our sins by offering His life as a sacrifice to the Father.

    What is Easter?

    As believers we believe that without His sacrifice, we would not be united with God in heaven. Easter is the day we celebrate Jesus' Resurrection, His triumph over death. Not only do we now believe that we will be united with God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (will go into them later - email if you would like), but, as Scripture says, our bodies will be resurrected at the end of time.

    What do I do at Church?

    Well, as a Roman Catholic, I believe in the Easter Triduum. It starts with a Mass (will explain more later - the Catholic Church service) on Holy Thursday night, the night when Jesus and His followers celebrate, as was custom, the feast of the Passover. Catholics believe in something miraculous called the Eucharist. We believe it is Jesus' Flesh and Blood transubstantiated from bread and wine (will go into detail later). This Celebration of the Eucharist doesn't end on Holy Thursday. The Church members are dismissed at the end of the Holy Thursday service without a normal conclusion. This is because the Eucharistic Liturgy (will explain later) continues until the Easter Vigil [(the Mass the night before Easter Day)(Mass isn't celebrated anywhere in the world on Good Friday, because of this)]. The Triduum finishes with Evening Prayer of Liturgy of the Hours (will explain more later) on Easter Day.

    I know you know, Ouisi, I was just typing this as I would to a person who would ask. I know it's long than the others' answers, but I'm sure I could fit that in a block distance. ; )

    As another question...

    Something I'm going to try and address on my blog is:

    The Problem of Evil and Suffering...

    Atheists bring this up as a proof that God doesn't exist, because if He was perfect and all good, why would He allow this to happen. I'll do an answer on my blog (

    God Bless!