This is a bit of a weird week. Those of you who’ve celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, or other significant events during lockdown will probably well understand the feeling that something isn’t really being properly marked. For all our efforts to make a day special, it’s hard within the restrictions currently on us (though most of us agree the restrictions themselves are absolutely right).
Last year, during Holy Week (this week – between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday) I was at the Vicar Factory (I’m training to be a priest) and we had about 400 services during the course of the week. Ok, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but there were services aplenty – get up, breakfast, service, lecture, service, break, service, lunch, service, lecture, service, service, snack, service … something like that 🙂
But my point is, boy did we mark Holy Week. And it was wonderful. This year, the only Holy Week services I’ll be involved in will be either in my study or my lounge. Don’t get me wrong, my study and lounge are both lovely places, but it’s hardly how I’d envisaged celebrating Easter. It’s weird celebrating the freedom that Easter heralds, in the confinement of our home. But it’s a useful reminder that not everyone has the same privileges I have. Many Christians around the world put themselves in physical danger by meeting together, because of the persecution faced in many countries. Others are not well enough to leave the house to celebrate with their church families. Perhaps I’ll appreciate this more this year and into the future. I also need to remember that the promise of freedom that Good Friday brings doesn’t depend on my circumstances. Jesus’ death on the cross offers freedom and hope to those who are trapped, those who are held captive. So in the ‘captivity’ of lockdown, it’s worth remembering that Good Friday is Good indeed – it promises us a freedom that we long for and can one day fully enjoy.
I hope this Good Friday is Good for you and those you love. Perhaps in times like this, we can understand, appreciate and yearn for freedom all the more.
For another view of Good Friday, with a focus on Barabbas, here’s one I wrote a few years ago.
Are you ‘celebrating’ Good Friday this year? If so, how? And might this year have something special to teach?