This past Easter weekend, I was struck by the dichotomy of Good Friday and Easter Sunday, the symbolism of each day, and how I think we need both in our lives.
Good Friday has to do with death, dying, sacrifice, loss, pain, sorrow, and sadness. It’s a little weird when you think about it—as Christians, we celebrate a gruesome, terrible death. But in the Christian faith, there is no Easter Sunday without Good Friday. It had to happen. Similarly, in our lives, we often experience death, dying, sacrifice, loss, pain, sorrow, and sadness. Family members and friends pass away. Divorces happen. Our kids struggle with making poor choices. People commit suicide. We might struggle with our own internal demons that just don’t seem to go away. It is painful, but also an integral and normal part of the human experience. If we want to live full, whole lives, we can’t escape Good Friday.
But then there is Easter Sunday. Easter Sunday has to do with new life, resurrection, hope, joy, celebration, and gladness. We celebrate the resurrection of Christ, and his victory over death. It is the focal point of the Christian faith—so much so that the apostle Paul said that all Christians should be pitied if the resurrection didn’t actually happen. Similarly, in our lives, there are joyful times of celebration, healing, and new life. New babies are born and look at the world with fresh eyes. Broken relationships experience healing and reconciliation. We might experience freedom from addiction, or see a new way forward through our suffering. Easter Sundays are part of our reality as well.
Stuck in Good Friday
Sometimes in our lives, we might feel stuck in Good Friday. We might be in the middle of pain or loss, and not see a way forward. Our Easter Sunday might seem a long way off. We might doubt that there is any hope at all. This is the struggle of grief, debilitating depression, or overwhelming anxiety. Sometimes we need the help of others to see that something different is even possible.
Avoiding Good Friday
On the other side of the coin, some of us might try really hard to avoid the Good Fridays of our life, and stay in the happy place of Easter. If we are faced with struggle, pain, or heartache, we might try to change our focus to something good, or look on the bright side of things. “Where is the rainbow or silver lining?,” we might ask. Go too far to this side, and we hide and deny the painful reality that is a part of our experience.
We Need Both
I think we need both. In the Christian faith, there is no Easter Sunday without first passing through Good Friday. Similarly, although we mourn and feel the weight of Good Friday, we know we are not without hope. In our own lives, we face a similar dynamic. Our lives are full of hurt, pain, sadness, and sometimes even despair. But there is also hope, renewal, and new beginnings. We need to acknowledge and honor both.
Do you live your life more on the side of Good Friday, Easter Sunday, or do you honor both sides?