Friday and Sunday
By Bill Shepard
By the time you are reading this Friday and Sunday will be facing at your door! The calendar lists it as Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Good Friday and Easter, what do they mean to you? Answers would vary!
When I began writing this article, memories of my childhood were awakened and I found myself a way back in time. I was a barefoot boy and following behind my Dad. We were at work in the garden spot that had been recently plowed. Today was planting was planting time for the gardeners on the village. Old Tom, the village handyman, had been busy in recent days plowing the garden spots in preparation for this special day that we all call Good Friday! But why, I ask, do we call this Good Friday? There were many questions that needed an answer.
It was on this Friday that the most unfair trial ever held took place. The consequences of that trial led to the crucifixion of Jesus Chris, and that in a most shameful way.
The Gospel writer, Luke, reports it like this:
“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.” Luke 23:44 KJV
The writer, Matthew, gives us a more descriptive picture of all that was taking place at Calvary that day. Please read it in Chapter 27 in the book off Matthew.
As we read all the horrible things that were happening on that day, we are prone to ask, “Why call this day Good Friday? What was good about it?” Would Peter and John, Jesus’ two closest friends have called it good? Would Mary, the mother of Jesus, who stood gazing upon the bruised and broken body of her son, called such a day good? And the little band of followers, who no doubt were fearful for their own lives, would they label it as Good Friday? It is hard to imagine that any of those who experienced the events would have called it Good Friday!
I went in search for answers, but found little information as to when, why, and by whom the day got its title as being Good Friday. Perhaps the best I could come away with was my own, “That God loved His creation so much that He was willing to put His son through this suffering that we could be forgiven of our sins, and live with Him in eternity.” I will accept that, and let it be.
Three crosses on a hilltop. On the middle cross, between the two vile sinners, hangs the body of the Son of God…why? The answer lies in the words this writer first learned in Sunday School when he was a boy.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotton son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 KJV
At the little church where I attended as a boy, the preacher would tell us about what took place on Sunday, after Friday. The story of the Resurrection of Jesus always causes hope to spring alive inside of the believer. Millions no doubt have stood by the side of an open grave and heard the words:
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as other which have no hope! For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and the Trump of God.; and the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet with the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, 16-17.
Perhaps that is why we call what happened on Friday before Easter, Good Friday!
Back to the barefoot that followed his Dad while planting the early garden. It seemed there was a tradition among the villagers that seed planted on Good Friday would germinate and come forth from the ground as Jesus came forth. Also, plant three seed to a hill, representing the Trinity – Father, Son, Holy Ghost. “Put three seed to each hill,” my Dad would say. Not one more, not one less!”
I will follow those instructions when planting my garden, except when I slip and drop four seed. I just let them be, it is much harder for an old man to stop than when he was a boy!
Mr. Shepard is a native of Darlington, S.C., and a current resident of Piedmont, S.C. He is the author of “Mill Town Boy” and “Bruised”. He has been sharing his tales of growing up in Darlington for decades, and we are delighted to share them each week.
His mailing address for cards and letters is: Bill Shepard 324 Sunny Lane, Piedmont, S.C., 29673