Awesome Friday

I still remember “liver and onion” night as a child. We probably didn’t eat it that often but it seemed like it showed up at dinner every few weeks. I can still remember the “tub” it came in from the store. I can still remember looking at the reddish-brown “blob” as it was thrown into the pan. I can still remember the smell of the kitchen when it was fried. And no amount of sautéed onions smothered on it could veil the fact that just a few days previous it was an organ in a cow, secreting bile. That sounds gross because it is gross! Note to Mom and Dad: “Dude, what were you thinking?”

Variations of, “Son, I know it doesn’t taste very good, but it’s good for you,” were uttered. That line (“It’s good for you”) was used on the occasion spinach and Brussels sprouts were on the menu, too. Most of the time, I knew my parents to be the wisest people on the planet; but every once in awhile, at dinner—I was tempted to re-evaluate.

In a few days, the church calendar will say “Good Friday.” We will gather as a church that evening. We will read Scripture describing betrayal (John 13:18-27). We will read Scripture foretelling rejection (John 15:18-25). We will read Scripture describing mocking (Matthew 27:27-34). We will read Scripture reporting crucifixion (John 19:17-24). We will read Scripture describing insults (Matthew 27:39-44). We will read Scripture telling of darkness (Matthew 27:45-49). We will read Scripture declaring death (Luke 23:46-49 and John 19:28- 37).

How can betrayal, rejection, mocking, crucifixion, insults, darkness, and death be good? They can only be so if they accomplish something good for you. “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

It was good for you that day, my believing friend. But maybe the word “good” shouldn’t be used. It’s much too small. Based on what was accomplished that day, words such as “great,” and “amazing,” and “awesome” are better. I’m going to change my church calendar. 

Pastor Rich Hamlin

March 29, 2012 


  1. I, too, remember the liver and onions. I actually liked it as a child. I am not sure I would now.

    Good Friday is a paradox like everything else about God. The introduction of the puritan prayers in the book, THE VALLEY OF VISION says it all:

    Lord, High and Holy, Meek and Lowly
    Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
    where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
    hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

    Let me learn by paradox
    the way down is the way up,
    that to be low is to be high,
    that the broken heart is the healed heart,
    that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
    that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
    that to have nothing is to possess all,
    that to bear the cross is the wear the crown,
    that to give is to receive,
    that the valley is the place of vision.

    Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from the deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine.

    Let me find thy light in my darkness,
    thy life in my death,
    thy joy in my sorrow,
    thy grace in my sin,
    thy riches in my poverty,
    thy glory in my valley.

    My favorite Michael Card song, God’s Own Fool, says it well also. I won’t write out the entire lyrics, you can search it online but one of the verses goes like this:

    Find the courage to say I believe
    For the power of paradox opens your eyes
    And blinds those who say they can see.

    Praise God that He has opened our eyes so that we can see our Savior. Many eyes remain blinded. For them Good Friday is only TGIF because it is the end of the work week. To believers it is the beginning of eternity with our Lord and Creator and Savior.

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