Really Awesome Friday

I still remember “liver and onion” night as a kid. 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 amounts 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, “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 earth. But every once in a while, during dinner I was tempted to re-evaluate.

Tomorrow, the church calendar says “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 recording 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. “He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the Righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

It was good for you that day, my believing friend. But maybe the word “good” should not be used. It’s much too small. Based on what was accomplished that day, words such as “great,” and “amazing,” and “awesome” may be better. In fact, “Really Awesome” sounds good.  I’m going to go with that one.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
originally posted March 29, 2012, amended April 14, 2022

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