Saturday, April 07, 2007
Why is 'Good' Friday called 'Good'?
In an Australian newspaper a few young people were asked, 'What do you think of at Easter?' The answer from all of them was 'Chocolate and Easter eggs!' I think if the question was asked in Fiji, the answer would be less flippant. The Good Friday and Easter weekend is taken seriously by many, many people in Fiji.
But why is Good Friday called 'good'? This is a question I have often heard. At first it certainly seems like an error, but some people, who are wiser than I, have decided that it is the right term. I looked up Google and found this article informative. I have cut out sections though as it is very long.
From Christianity TodayThe Goodness of Good Friday
An unhappy celebration—isn't that an oxymoron?
by Chris Armstrong | posted 04/18/2003
What a supreme paradox. We now call the day Jesus was crucified, Good. Many believe this name simply evolved—as language does. They point to the earlier designation, "God's Friday," as its root. (This seems a reasonable conjecture, given that "goodbye" evolved from "God be with you.")
Whatever its origin, the current name of this holy day offers a fitting lesson to those of us who assume (as is easy to do) that "good" must mean "happy." We find it hard to imagine a day marked by sadness as a good day.
Of course, the church has always understood that the day commemorated on Good Friday was anything but happy. Sadness, mourning, fasting, and prayer have been its focus since the early centuries of the church…
…I like to think the linguistic accident that made "God's Friday" into "Good Friday" was no accident at all. It was God's own doing—a sharp, prophetic jab at a time and a culture obsessed by happiness. In the midst of consumerism's Western playground, Good Friday calls to a jarring halt the sacred "pursuit of happiness." The cross reveals this pursuit for what it is: a secondary thing…
Today, Christian liturgies reflect the gravity of Christ's act. Services linger on the details of Christ's death and the extent of His sacrifice. Often the Stabat Mater is performed—a thirteenth-century devotional poem remembering Mary's vigil by the cross. The poem begins "Stabat Mater Dolorosa"—that is, "a grief-stricken mother was standing."…
…Good Friday has always challenged merely human goodness. Its sad commemoration reminds us that in the face of sin, our goodness avails nothing. Only One is good enough to save us. That He did so is cause indeed for celebration.
Copyright © 2003 Christianity Today.