When Good Friday and Easter rolls around, I often hear preachers say, “We are Easter people living in a Good Friday world.” There is so much truth to this sentiment. However, I don’t think we stop at Good Friday long enough in our lives to really soak in what it means to live in a Good Friday world. Even in our liturgical life, we don’t dwell of Good Friday for very long. We keep it to a minimum, oh let’s say, an hour service on Friday evening. Growing up, Good Friday was a ritual that had to happen before Easter Sunday. I remember always being told that there is no Resurrection without death, so there is no Easter without Good Friday.
This may be true. But for those disciples and followers of Jesus, Good Friday was all they knew in the moment. On Good Friday, they didn’t fully know there was going to be an Easter. Many low-wage workers in the United States (and around the world!) live lives in a Good Friday world because that is their reality. However, there are those of us, even as we work in solidarity with workers, who don’t dwell in Good Friday long enough. Especially as Christians, we’re so filled with hope and the resurrection (at least in our heads) that we don’t sit with the pain and the struggles. We want to participate in the movement to fix things or make things better, but how often do we participate in the movement to merely be in solidarity? To sit in this space of Good Friday, with despair, with hopelessness and anger? I think it would do us some good to dwell in the realities of the Good Friday world because is an important part of our Easter story. Yes, we are Easter people living in a Good Friday world, but if we don’t learn to dwell in the Good Friday part of this story, we are in many ways minimizing and undermining true deep painful experiences. Sometimes we’re so focused on being Easter people that we are uncomfortable even thinking about how we may even be contributing to a Good Friday world. But we are. You and I contribute to a Good Friday world everyday, and I think it’s important for us to spend some time thinking about this space.
Yes, we are a people of hope. Our tradition is centered around the resurrected Christ and this is the good news! However, sometimes we dwell in the resurrected world too much and do not pay enough attention to the Good Friday world in which we live. I encourage us today, on Good Friday, to spend some time in the realities of our Good Friday world. Sit with the pain, the frustration and anger at a world that is so evil, so violent and sometimes seem so hopeless.
This year, each Friday during Lent, IWJ's Organizing Director, Sung Yeon Choi-Morrow, reflected on Scripture and her experiences in the field helping to move the work for worker justice and a fair economy.