"It's Friday, but Sunday's Coming"

“It's Friday, but Sunday's Coming.” This is the phrase made famous by Christian Author and Theologian, Tony Campolo, in reference to the hope of resurrection. The original saying has actually been traced to Baptist pastor S. M. Lockridge. Either way, it’s gold! It is rich with theological insight.

And just what is this “Friday?” Well, it’s the “Friday” we call “Good!” It’s dark, brooding, oppressive, disappointing, and heartbreaking. Life rudely slaps us in the face and wakes us back up from a dreamy state of hope to the harsh reality of a broken world. This is what “Friday” represents in theology. King David once said, “Weeping may stay for the night, but
rejoicing comes in the morning”
(Psalm 30:5 NIV).

There’s something about “nighttime” that always has been reserved for things like fear, grieving, and sorrow. Even the language was used by our early 1st and 2nd century Desert Mothers and Fathers to describe their agonizing experience of what they called the “Dark Night of the Soul!” It belongs to that lonely watch where the weightiness of our reality is
magnified and intensified. Oh, how we long for the break of a new day.

Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ mock trial and crucifixion, is a day of Darkness, and not light. A day of dashed hopes and lost dreams. Zechariah says, “When they look on me, the one they have pierced, they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly as one grieves for a firstborn son” (Zechariah 12:10 NIV). Luke tells us that “When
all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away”
(Luke 23:48 NIV). Deep anguish and grief had settled into the land. Darkness and shadows (Tenebrae) had enveloped the world!

The truth is, that every life passage into resurrection includes a journey straight through the heart of darkness and desolation. Before we arrive at Sunday, we must travel through Friday.

How tragic, that our fear of the night causes us to run from the night. Shakespeare has said, “I will encounter darkness as a bride and hug it in my arms.” Are we willing to embrace the darkness of Calvary and all of its gifts to us? L.B. Cowman, in her devotional classic “Streams in the Desert,” writes, “The soul that is always lighthearted and cheerful misses the deepest things of life…stars shine the brightest during the long, dark night of winter.” Cowman continues, “Gentian wildflowers display their fairest blooms among the nearly inaccessible heights of mountain snow and ice. God seems to use the pressure of pain,” she says, to trample out the fulfillment of his promises and thereby release the sweetest juice of his winepress. Only those who have known sorrow can fully appreciate the great tenderness of the Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief and suffering.”

Come with me, next Friday night, into the rich and edifying exploration of DARKNESS. God has spoken through the Prophet Isaiah, “I will give you the treasures of darkness” (Isaiah 45:3a NIV). So, what exactly happens on “that day,” the day of crucifixion?

ON THAT DAY, declares the Lord, a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity” (Zechariah 13:1 NIV).

ON THAT DAY, declares the Lord, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more,” declares the Lord Almighty. “I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land” (Zechariah 13:2 NIV).

ON THAT DAY, every prophet will be ashamed of their prophetic vision. They will not put on a prophet’s garment of hair in order to deceive” (Zechariah 3:4 NIV).
On that day of darkness and cruel suffering, the Son of Man will be lifted up on a tree of cursing, taunted by the crowds, misunderstood by the religious leaders, abandoned by his disciples, despised and rejected by many…but everyone who looks to him will be saved. The realization of sin and brokenness in our lives is painful and ugly, but when we look to Jesus, and take his brokenness into our lives, we will be made whole.

Going to Calvary means going to darkness. But the scriptures tell us that Moses went into the “thick darkness” (Exodus 20:21) to meet with God, and God’s voice was heard “out of the midst of the darkness" (Deuteronomy 5:23). As author Christian author and theologian, Leonard Sweet notes, maybe “The night life is the right life!”

I hope you will join me in the Sanctuary next Friday night, March 29th, at 7 pm for the sacred and holy journey into darkness. We will be sharing a traditional Tenebrae service of scripture readings and hymns, all of which will retell the story of the stations of the cross and the journey into his sacrificial death for our lives. We will enter and leave this service in silence and pensive reflections on the magnificent mystery and ministry that was accomplished through this instrument of pain and death.

Weeping may last for the night, but Joy comes in the morning!
Pastor David ☺

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