I am 31, and I have only been to three funerals in my whole life. The first funeral that I went to was my grandmother’s, in 2009. I was 23, almost 24. The second was my mother’s, which was in 2010, and I was barely 25. And the third was my mom’s best friend’s son, Mark’s, which was in 2014.
I felt like I went to my fourth one tonight.
I had never went to a Good Friday service before tonight. You see, I was not brought up with liturgy at all. Sure, I went to a United Methodist Church growing up, but it was kinda just singing and choir and that was it. Communion once a month, and nothing really had any meaning.
I walked into church and every indication of Jesus was hidden or covered in black. Because you see, when you observe Good Friday, Jesus has died. That in and of itself was shocking, and that in and of itself was mind blowing enough. I knew the cross was there… but seeing it covered in black just got right to my heart and it really showed me the gravity of what was going on.
Then, going through the service – there was so much call and response. So much Scripture. Those things that I never, ever had any appreciation for before I started going to Veritas. Sure, I knew the Bible – but I did not appreciate the beautiful, heart felt traditions that have been going on in the church for centuries. I didn’t understand why there were different colors in the church and why certain things went on. I didn’t care to know back then – I thought that ritual was killing the church.
When, in fact, ritual is what is saving the church.
But now that I’m older, and I appreciate and see everything more… it blows my mind just how beautiful and wonderful that the rituals are. They connect us with each other, with the Lord Jesus, and with those who came ahead of us in the faith. They connect us to the God who loves us and people all over the world who are celebrating the same things, and it was beautiful.
So tonight, I went to a funeral. A funeral that helped each of us to remember the gravity of what happened at the cross. A funeral that connected us to the reality of a man that was killed for the sake of “national security” in the Roman Empire. A funeral that connected us to the fact that Jesus chose to die, even though He could have stopped it from happening. A funeral that breaks the hearts of people all over the world. A funeral for a Man who has totally turned my life upside down in the few years have I have claimed to follow Him.
But this I know – even though tonight was in remembrance of our Friend who died… Sunday is coming. And on that day, we celebrate that He is alive. But as you know, we can’t celebrate His Ressurection without first observing that He died on a tree.