Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Today is the day on which the western Church recognizes ("celebrates" is not the right word) the crucifixion of Christ. As I was pondering this today, I was struck, for the first time, by the centrality of this day on the calendar.

Growing up, Christmas always seemed the most important Christian holiday. As I got older, I started to think that it was Easter. But today, I'm thinking that Good Friday is it. It certainly isn't the most cheerful, but if the central purpose of the incarnation was Jesus dying for the sins of mankind...well, this is the day on which we commemorate that event. With the incarnation, God took on flesh and became man. The resurrection foreshadows what will happen to all of us on the day of judgement, and it built the church*. But it is the death on the cross that is the central, pivotal act, as Jesus took upon himself the sins of the world, and died that we might live.

This video consists of various depictions of the crucifixion, with the wonderful "God So Loved the World" by Sir John Stainer, from his oratorio The Crucifixion, as the background music...

* - At the crucifixion, the disciples of Christ, the ones who needed to convey the Gospel to the ends of the earth, made up a very small and disheartened group. It was the resurrection, and then Pentecost, that provided the Holy Spirit and the inspiration for the evangelism that followed.

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