Happy Good Friday to you! Frequently guys ask me, “since Jesus suffered and died on Good Friday, why do we call that day good?” While it was a day of severe pain and agony for Jesus, He did it for you and me to experience forgiveness of our sins, receive the free gift of eternal life, be born again into God’s forever family and to be able to go to Heaven. So Good Friday was good for us! But it was also good for Him, because what He did on Good Friday was the whole reason He came to earth in the first place. When He said, about 3 PM that first Good Friday from the Cross, “it is finished,” He had finished the work He came to do and that was good for Him.
Always the Friday before Easter, this year Good Friday is today, April 22. I suppose you know that our Easter date was separated from its Biblical Passover date by early church leaders, without very good reason as far as I can tell. As an archaeologist and Bible student, I wish they hadn’t done that. Even worse, for me, their system to determine the annual date for Easter seems to have no Biblical or spiritual value. While there are still some other technicalities which create additional changes, our annual Easter date is generally determined as follows: Easter falls every year on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox.
So that’s why we are celebrating Good Friday today, April 22, 2011. This year April 22 is also Earth Day. First celebrated in the United States on April 22, 1970, Earth Day was designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment. Today it is celebrated worldwide and, since 2009, the United Nations designates April 22 as International Mother Earth Day.
Well, I’ve been thinking…Earth Day and Good Friday on the same day. The last time that happened was 1984 – what were you doing that day? As I see it, the best thing that could happen for Earth Day is actually what happened on Good Friday. It really can’t get much better than Jesus making a difference in our lives, so we can go out and do the right things while we are living here on planet Earth. That way we can live reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Sounds to me like a pretty good way to go. Happy Earth Day and Happy Good Friday – maybe they ought to go together every year.
Always and only one day at a time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director