What Does Good Friday Mean To You?

I’m going to warn you in advance. This is not my usual post. This is more reflective of the holiday we are entering into, so I’m well aware that it won’t be for everyone.

I suspect, even if you aren’t a very “religious” person, that if you ever did the “going to church” thing in your life this particular season brings out the reflectiveness in you. Yes, there’s the secular world of Easter bunnies and Easter egg hunts and more candy than any dentist is comfortable seeing, but for those of us who’ve either been raised in the church or spent some time going, we know the deeper meanings in this holiday.

Last night I performed for the first time in a Maundy Thursday service. Some know this service better by Holy Thursday or Covenant Thursday. Basically, it’s the day of The Last Supper of Christ, spent with his disciples. Although we did a few songs, it was the Negro Spiritual “Were You There” performed with a friend, Acapella in the dark that was the most personally moving. The darkness was symbolic of His death and burial. For those of you who haven’t heard the song before, here’s a lovely version. In fact, if you close your eyes and just listen, it will touch you.

Anyway, as I listened to the scripture readings last night, I found myself reflecting on the disciples, Peter in particular. I found it ironic that Peter was the one who came to Jesus asking about how often he should have to forgive. Peter thought forgiving someone 7 times was a lot back then, and Hebrew law would’ve agreed with him. That was generous! Jesus, however, told him 70 x 7…which back then translated to infinite.

As I thought about his conversation with Jesus that Thursday night when he said (and I believe he meant it) that he would never deny Him, I imagined how devastated he was on that Friday when the rooster crowed. There was no question Peter loved Jesus, but in that moment his fear overwhelmed him. On that day, when his faith was put to the test, he denied Jesus and their relationship.

I wonder if he had nightmares after that, of having denied Jesus for the third time only to hear the rooster crow, remember Jesus’ words and meeting Jesus’ eyes. I imagine the look in Jesus’ eyes was a blend of compassion, forgiveness and hurt. Then I started thinking about my own life.

There was a young girl who I considered to be one of my closest friends back in 5th grade. One day in Science class, while sitting at my lab table with my 3 other partners, she walked by my table. Just as she was passing, her arm shot out and punched me hard in the stomach. My three lab partners were outraged. They wanted to report her to the teacher. I stopped them.

“Why?” one of the boys asked. “She hit you. That’s not right.”

I shrugged. “Don’t. She’s hurting. She just found out her parents are getting divorced.”

“So that makes it okay to hurt you?” the other one asked.

“No,” I answered. “It’s not. But it was easier for her to hurt me than to hurt her parents the way that she feels they’re hurting her.”

Before you think I’m telling you this story to make myself out to be some sort of saint, don’t worry. I’m not egomaniacal. The truth is she hurt my feelings. She betrayed my trust and we were never friends again. I was also fairly young and innocent back then.

As I got older I learned to be less forgiving. More quick to react in kind. More likely to live out the “eye for an eye” concepts. In fact, my inability to forgive nearly cost me a valued friendship just recently. Sadly, the only crime my friend committed was being related to someone who’d hurt me. I should have been able to let it go, but I didn’t. And I talked about it. And talked about it. And talked about it. To her!

She was beyond patient with me, but the time came where she had finally had it. She snapped and said something. Someone innocent paying for the actions of another. Not at all cool. It stopped me in my tracks and made me think. It took months before she was finally ready to talk to me again. I wouldn’t have blamed her if she never did. I was insensitive, thoughtless and hurtful.

Two very different stories, aren’t they? It’s no wonder Jesus said we need to have hearts like children. Time and experience have a way of coloring our perspectives. So I think back to Peter with a better understanding of how humbling it must have been to realize just how much he now needed the forgiveness from his Master. Forgiving the unforgiveable. I bet he thought back to that day when he asked Jesus about it, grateful now, about his answer, realizing just how undeserving he was of that gift in that moment.

More importantly, it made me realize just how hurt Jesus probably was in the moment that Peter denied him, though he knew it was coming. His best friend, denying he even knew him at the biggest trial of his life. Personally, I’m grateful for his forgiving heart and for his sacrifice. Without it, this world would be a hopeless place.

So my question to you guys… What does this holiday mean to you? Do you celebrate Good Friday? There is no judging here. Please don’t misunderstand. These are simply my personal beliefs and not meant to reflect anyone else’s.

Here’s a song that I feel reflects exactly why God is so good.

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20 thoughts on “What Does Good Friday Mean To You?

  1. Jessi Gage says:

    Beautiful, Kitt. I love Were You There. It always hits me straight in the heart. I love your emphasis on forgiveness, and I love how you show it from two very different angles. How many of us have benefitted from forgiveness? I know I have! That should challenge us to offer it in return.

    I love writing about themes of forgiveness in my books. It’s a compelling topic that generates a lot of drama. But in my own life, I prefer to live a bit more drama-free. Thankfully, I haven’t had a great deal to forgive. But, probably like everyone, I’m holding a few grudges that aren’t doing me any favors.

    Thanks for the motivation to try and let those go this Easter!

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      Thanks, Jessi. I really think that was the biggest miracle of all, you know? Mercy. I try to lead a fairly uncomplicated life, too. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean sin doesn’t find it’s way in. If it weren’t for God’s example of the ultimate forgiveness, I think it would be easy to become lost.

  2. Austin says:

    It used to mean a lot, growing up a Catholic school kid in a Catholic household, with a severely Catholic evil stepmother. Now, though, it’s just like most any other Friday. I do try to remember the significance of the day, but no one around me gets it, so I just think of it as a Friday…

  3. susielindau says:

    I think as we get older the hurt is more complicated. It becomes entangled in our memories of other hurts and may also be mixed in with a little humiliation and fear. I tend to forget about old hurts and move on with the person. I don’t have the grudge gene.
    Such a beautiful post! I didn’t go to Church today, but I did take a moment and prayed. It is humbling. It is really wonderful that you participated in the Mass! Happy Easter!

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      You’re probably right about why forgiveness doesn’t come as easily as we get older, Susie. 🙂 Those are the moments I wish I still had that childlike heart. Oddly enough, it’s not usually slights against me I have trouble letting go of…it’s slights against the people I love. I know it’s going to take daily work to improve in that area.

      Happy Easter! Enjoy your family. 🙂

  4. filbio says:

    Wow, what a wonderfully worded post. I grew up as a Catholic as my mom’s side is Italian and many were right off the boat. We all used to observe Good Friday. I took off work yesterday to observe it but did not do anything special for it. Many of my older relatives have passed away and they used to do more for it with us. I’m not as religious now but still observe these holidays in my own way.

  5. writingthebody says:

    You are a very kind person…..not just for taking the punch, but for explaining why to others…if there were more people like you, we really would live in a better world – thank you for being you. I do not even feel worthy to comment actually….it was a suggested link that brought me here. But I am so glad it did…if you want to delete this comment do feel free. I just wanted to say thank you.

  6. ARodomus says:

    You are right, listening to the song is very touching.You know, I grew up in the Christian religion, and according to our teachings, the Catholic Church and the idols are sinful. Yet, I always found beauty in the Catholic Church, and it brings me comfort to simply sit on a pew and be in peace.

    Easter for my family has always been a time where we all get together and have lunch/dinner at South Street Seaport or a restaurant, we all dress up nice and spend time together. For us, it’s not necessarily about religion, but about the family being together.

    This year my mom, sisters, and even my son were all in Pennsylvania, and my wife is Chinese and doesn’t celebrate Easter. So I attended a kid’s birthday party and then went home. I learned one thing, without my mom, sisters, and my son, Easter means nothing to me.

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