I’ve thought often about today in history, and of our reference to the Friday before Easter as being Good Friday, and of how in a very significant way, it was anything but good. Not all parts of the world speak as we do. According to Wikipedia this Friday is described in various ways.
- Great Friday: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece (Μεγάλη Παρασκευή / Megáli Paraskeví), Hungary, Macedonia, Malta (Il-Ġimgħa l-Kbira), Poland (Wielki Piątek), Lithuania, Romania, Serbia, [[Slovakia]Velky Piatok], Slovenia, and in the Eastern Orthodox Church generally; Sri Lanka (Maha Sikurada); Indonesia (Jumat Agung)
- Holy Friday: Latin America, Spain (Viernes Santo), France (Vendredi Saint), Italy (venerdì santo), Portugal, Brazil (Sexta-Feira Santa), Philippines (Mahal na Araw or Biyernes Santo), Vietnam (Thứ sáu Tuần Thánh), Japan (聖金曜日)
- Good Friday (English language) but Aoine Chéasta Passion Friday (Irish Language): Ireland
No matter which word we choose, the word proves to be a paradox.
Good Friday, you say? How could such a day have been good?
“And he (Judas) came to Jesus…and kissed him.”
“Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands.”
“Then began he (Peter) to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew…And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.”
Great Friday, you say? How could such a day have been great?
“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
“And they all forsook him and fled.”
Holy Friday, you say? How could such a day have been holy?
“And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face…”
“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him…”
“And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head…”
More to truth do these countries speak:
- Long Friday: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Faroe Islands, Iceland
- Day of Christ’s Suffering: Chinese-speaking areas (基督受難日)
- Sad Friday: Arabic-speaking locals
Day of Christ’s Suffering
“And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha where they crucified him…”
“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, Mary…”
“And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews…came therefore and took the body of Jesus.”
And yet, I fully understand Good and Holy and Great. For on that memorable Friday, salvation for all mankind was wrought.
“And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
“Jesus said, ‘It is finished.'”
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