Updated: March 27, 2013 2:06PM
For all Christian believers, tomorrow — Good Friday — is one of the most sacred days of the year. A precursor to the Easter resurrection, the events of the day of Christ’s death on the cross provides one with a poignant pause for reflection.
A theme I come back to again and again is the significance, richness and depth of this notion of forgiveness and how it should apply to our own lives.
After enduring hours of horrible torture and agony, Jesus, hanging from the cross, found the strength to keep forgiving. He asked God, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Crucified between two common thieves — the type of sinners he died for — one asked to be remembered in paradise. Jesus went one step better and promised the man he would, that day, be with him in heaven.
And then there was the centurion soldier, who, after watching Jesus die, finally came to the belief that this “truly was the Son of God.”
While the forgiveness is not explicit, the notion that he was forgiven is certainly implicit.
Forgiveness is hard-held virtue within every legitimate religion — Christian and non — but it comes hard for most humans. Anger, pride, stubbornness tend to get in the way. What kind of peace might we bring to the world if we each worked to heal our tiny piece of the universe?
Here are a few more Good Friday lessons to ponder.
Beth Mahoney, Highland: Jesus never backed down from his convictions, even though he was killed for them. How often do we fail to stand up for others or for what we know is right because we’re afraid of what others might think? Worse yet, what about the times we don’t speak out because the status quo is much more comfortable? Good Friday reminds me that I, too, am guilty at times.
Lee Bradich, Griffith: Everyone has a cross to bear in life. That’s just a part of what it means to be human. When I’m feeling sorry for myself and find myself becoming angry or bitter because something goes wrong, I try to remember what Jesus endured for us on that cross.
Curt Smigel, Miller: I’m always struck by how most of Jesus’ friends deserted him that day. It’s easy to be a friend in good times but when things go south, are we among the ones who are nowhere to be found?
Vickie Grossman, Hobart: What touches me about Good Friday is the strength of the women who followed Christ on the road to Calvary and stood by his cross. All the men seemed to flee but they stood faithful to the end.
Ken Frey, Crown Point: I think Good Friday is a reminder about how difficult it sometimes is to submit to the will of God. In the garden before the crucifixion, Jesus prayed not to have to go through this ordeal — he even sweated blood, but in the end, he told God that he would do his will. Are any of us that strong?
Tom Kosminski, Schererville: Good Friday ultimately points to the hope of the resurrection. I feel sorry for those who believe there is no life after death. What would be the point?